Alison Elizabeth Taylor - The Sum of It


Known for her daring and inventive fusion of the centuries-old practice of marquetry (wood inlay) with gritty and provocative subject matter, Alison Elizabeth Taylor tells tales that are unequivocally modern. This exhibition, the most comprehensive gathering of her work to date, assembles dozens of works that chronicle her steady mastery of the now nearly forgotten techniques of this rarified medium and reveal her talent as an extraordinary storyteller of 21st-century American life and culture.

“Alison Elizabeth Taylor: The Sum of It” features approximately 40 large-scale single panel works, as well as a room-sized installation. These works trace the evolution of the artist’s practice from early paintings informed by the grains and tones of natural woods to more vividly colored works that layer marquetry, paint, and photographic imagery to new and increasingly complex works inspired by the resilience of the artist’s urban Brooklyn neighborhood during the pandemic. In our current moment of social and political upheaval, Taylor’s innovative work begs the age-old questions: what is painting, what is America, and who are we?

The Des Moines Art Center’s exhibition of “Alison Elizabeth Taylor: The Sum of It” is supported by the Harriet S. and J. Locke Macomber Art Center Fund and ASK Studio.