“Bill Scott: A Prolonged Moment” to Open as a Digital Presentation at Hollis Taggart on June 15, 2020
Hollis Taggart is pleased to present Bill Scott: A Prolonged Moment, the artist’s eighth solo exhibition with the gallery. The presentation features a selection of new abstract oil paintings that capture the exuberant energy and brilliant color for which Scott’s work is recognized, as well as a selection of small-scale watercolors, which mark the artist’s first return to the medium in several decades. Opening online on June 15, 2020, the exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue that includes the artist’s writings on his inspirations, process, and commitment to painting, as an incisive and poignant genre. While Hollis Taggart remains closed to the public, Scott’s work will be installed at its W. 26th Street flagship location and be available for in-person viewing by appointment through the end of July.
Scott’s abstract compositions are often inspired by nature, whether plants in his studio, views from his windows, or scenes encountered on walks throughout his hometown of Philadelphia and beyond. These representational elements are then filtered through the artist’s imaginings of idealized places and emerge on the canvas as vivid bursts of color, geometric forms, and spontaneous gestural lines. Scott’s engagement with nature began at an early age, when he would envision fantastical places to which he could escape. Through the years, notions of paradises that offer comfort and respite have continued to drive Scott’s work. This is particularly felt in paintings like The Imaginary World (2019), which suggest a rich and dense tangle of plantings and exude a sense of being enveloped in a warm embrace into which one can disappear.
Music and poetry are also important to Scott’s process and practice. This is particularly visible in the way that Scott builds texture, depth, and density on the surface of his canvases, in instances thickly layering his oil paint, in others scraping it away, and yet still in others applying a very thin, almost transparent paint. The end result is a composition that roils with life and motion. Of the influence of music, Scott says, “I aim to have the painting reveal itself slowly and, as it unfolds, for one to be able to intuit how it was made. Unlike a song, a painting does not have a beginning and an ending. Yet a painting, like a song, can linger, unfold, and reverberate long afterward in one’s memory.”
While Scott is most readily recognized for his oil paintings, which have been his primary focus over the last several decades, he had a moment of deep engagement with watercolor early in his career. In 1989, he spent several weeks with artist Joan Mitchell at her home in Vétheuil, France, delving into his approach to and the possibilities offered by watercolors. Upon his return to the United States, however, he abandoned the medium, returning to it only by happenstance in the summer of 2019. The upcoming presentation at Hollis Taggart marks the first presentation of these new works, which are characterized by a brilliant luminosity and add another interesting layer to Scott’s practice.
“Over the many years that we have worked with Bill, we have always been impressed by his incredible originality, masterful handling of color, and the compositional balance he brings to his paintings. This newest body of work encapsulates yet again his creative spirit and the joyful nature that has always pervaded his work,” said Hollis Taggart. “We are particularly delighted to present his recent watercolors, which further reflect the complexity and richness of his practice.”
The gallery’s exhibition will be followed by a solo presentation of the artist’s work at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, Mississippi, opening on August 4, 2020. Titled Bill Scott: A Garden in the Studio, the exhibition will included works produced between 2003 and 2019 and demonstrate Scott’s status as one of America’s foremost colorists.
Scott has exhibited widely over the past three decades at museums that include Swarthmore College, Hollins University, the State Museum of Pennsylvania, the National Academy Museum, and the University of Delaware. Major public collections with Scott’s work include Cleveland Museum of Art, Delaware Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute Museum of Art, and Woodmere Art Museum. In 2006, he was awarded a Distinguished Alumni award from the Pennsylvania Academy.
About Hollis Taggart
Founded in 1979, Hollis Taggart presents significant works of American art, showcasing the trajectory of American art movements from the Hudson River School to American Modernism and the Post-War and Contemporary eras. Its program is characterized by a deep commitment to scholarship and bringing to the fore the work of under-recognized artists. The gallery has sponsored several catalogue raisonné projects, most recently for the American Surrealist artist Kay Sage, and has been instrumental in advancing knowledge of such compelling artists as Alfred Maurer, Arthur B. Carles, and more recently, Theodoros Stamos, Marjorie Strider and Michael (Corinne) West. In the summer of 2019, the gallery announced the formal expansion of its primary market business and focus on the presentation of contemporary work, operating under Hollis Taggart Contemporary. The gallery’s flagship space is located on W. 26th Street and its contemporary division is based at secondary location on W. 25th Street. The gallery also has a private viewing and storage facility in the neighborhood. With 40 years of experience, Hollis Taggart is widely recognized by collectors and curators for its leadership, expertise, and openness, on matters of art history, and market trends and opportunities.
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