Neal Tait makes paintings and drawings that create parallel universes, where people and objects seem to multiply and metamorphose into ever more strange visions.
In his portraits and larger, dreamlike tableaux, narratives and sub-narratives are inferred through collaged visual elements that combine the rhetoric of a fairy tale with the perverse playfulness of Surrealism. All of Tait’s works seem to enjoy circuitous themes, without single entry or exit points and with a strange, almost absurd logic since they are usually based on found material and photographs or from the themes of a newspaper story. His paintings have been described as having “the disjointed syntax and inconclusive semantics of a particularly disquieting dream, though one graced by its own morbid beauty” (Caoimhin Mac Giolla Léith).
In his paintings and gouaches, Tait’s motifs can range from everyday objects – such as a lamp, a birdhouse, an umbrella or a piece of playground furniture – to more indecipherable, embryonic forms and his paintings hold several tensions in balance: between abstraction and figuration, sense and non-sense, logic and absurdity, beauty and grotesquery. In his portraits, nearly all of his subjects are depicted with their eyes and gaze averted, appearing like strangers both to the viewer and to themselves – ghostly transfiguration of their real personas.
Neal Tait was born in 1965 in Edinburgh and lives and works in London. He has exhibited in international group exhibitions such as ‘Painting on the Move’, Kunsthalle Basel (2002), ‘Direct Painting, Kunsthalle Mannheim (2004) and ‘Hoch Hinaus’, Kunstmuseum Thun. Solo exhibitions include Douglas Hyde Gallery (2002) and Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (2006) and Lyon Biennale, Lyon, France (2011).