DOWN AND DIRTY, paintings by Kevin Earl Taylor and textiles by Ben Venom
Down – as in to throw down, get down –
Directional meaning to “go down” south
Dirty – as in mean, backwards, or dishonorable
Evidence of having made a mess or labored
Kevin Earl Taylor and Ben Venom were brought together at a skateboard art show in Atlanta, Georgia just after the turn of the Millennium and the looming electronic meltdown of 1999. A bond was formed on the quarter pipe built by Venom and friends. Now, the two friends return to the South for a “homecoming” show, ready to get down and dirty – weaving new tales of people, situations, and things existing in the past.
Seasoned and emerging collectors alike will have the chance to acquire a limited edition print set designed by the artists exclusively for DOWN AND DIRTY. In addition to the print set, exhibit attendees will be able to snag a free, limited edition zine “Valencia Gardens” created by Atlanta artist and good friend, Steve Pomberg.
About the Artists
Kevin Earl Taylor was born in Charleston, SC in 1972. Currently, he lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Taylor primarily uses painting as a language, proposing mysterious, abstract narratives to the viewer, rich in familiar, objective imagery. Amalgamating scientific, anthropological and genetic source material, the artist surveys and ultimately depicts landscapes where diverse aspects of human physiology mesh with the origins of species. The paintings become artifacts. They exist as curious inquiries into the ostensible dichotomy between the human animal and mutating partitions of nature.
Ben Venom was born in Charleston, South Carolina, then grew up in Marietta and Atlanta, Georgia. He has been interviewed by NPR: All Things Considered, Playboy, Juxtapoz Magazine, KQED, Maxim, and CBS Sunday Morning. Recently, he was the artist in residence at San Francisco’s de Young Museum and is currently visiting faculty at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Working with repurposed materials to create textile-based pieces, Venom contrasts the often menacing and aggressive counterculture components of gangs, punk/metal music, and the occult with the comforts of domesticity. This collision of traditional quilting techniques with elements tied to the fringes of society re-envisions the story of the material through a softer lens.
The reclaimed fabrics used in Venom’s work contain a multitude of personal histories and everyone’s unexplained stain, tear, or rip is included. These salvaged pieces are sewn into a larger narrative and become a part of a collective history within the work. The fragility of the materials and their assaulting imagery are brought together in the form of a functional piece of art.
About the “Valencia Gardens” zine and creator Steve Pomberg
“Valencia Gardens” is a glimpse into 20+ years of friendship and artistic collaboration between Kevin Taylor, Ben Venom and Steve Pomberg. Steve met Kevin in 1993 while they were both students at The Savannah College of Art and Design. After relocating to Atlanta, Steve met Ben at a local gallery they were both involved with. Shortly after meeting Ben, Steve connected the three friends and set the stage for a rich history of hard work, integrity, and fun as seen within the pages of this zine.
Steve Pomberg is an Atlanta-based artist whose work has been exhibited internationally and domestically. Steve received his BFA from The Savannah College of Art and Design and is interested in the relationships between photography and painting. Steve’s current work involves creating idealized panoramas that invoke memories of pastoral vistas colliding with modern depredated landscapes. Steve also produces “zines” which are self published in limited editions that reference the pre-internet era of DIY communication and the analog exchange of information.