Robert Taite


Robert Taite



Born 1981, Winnipeg, Canada

“Deconstruction takes place, it is an event that does not wait deliberation, consciousness, or organization of a subject.” The very act of understanding or processing a work creates a new work. The philosophical term aims to reverse residing hierarchy and displace it in order to reconstitute what was always there.[1] Robert Taite has a tendency to steer towards an intrinsically intuitive process when describing his motivations. In this way, Taite’s style reflects Deconstructionism in the manner that Jacques Derrida was repeatedly asked to define.

Acknowledging painting’s intrinsic relationship to the walls of the white cube, Taite reframes the supposedly invisible neutrality of the gallery’s architecture into his own objects that straddle the border between painting and object. By expanding the traditional framework of painting beyond its confines to integrate architecture, the artist indirectly creates a space between painting and installation for viewers to walk into. Shaped-canvases or painted woodcuts perfectly nest inside of each other to create a customized, made-for-each other correlation. Furthermore, Taite’s use of frames in his practice is two-fold: they direct attention to the constructed and physical nature of a painting, and frames project a sense of a non-space. He explains his interest in the relationship that frames in painting and windows in architecture share. And in some instances, the artist employs moulding to contain an existing, as opposed to a depicted, space. He often subverts the sense of surface; and surface, through history, has been painting’s most valued attribute. Between explosive arrangements and simple, taut relationships, Taite brings viewers a sense of wonder and enchantment.

His background naturally plays a large role in his practice. Professional experience in framing and construction is combined with formalized study of minimalist painters. Viewers experience how used bits and pieces of everyday materials are transformed into spontaneous marks that dance along the wall. A series of surrounding works serve as elements in an overall installation that spans the exhibition space, breaking out of traditional composition structures. In surprisingly counterintuitive and ingenious ways, he transforms these elements to become architectonically sensitive. He changes our perceptions for the possibilities for painting. The artist challenges and then rearranges these normative components. How paintings are generally composed, any signifier of authority, becomes “out of joint.”  

Finally, specific colors are derived from paints found in hardware stores or chosen based on his Winnipeg landscape. The colors highlight relationships of form and pattern. By avoiding any form of analysis or critique to compose elements of color, form, and pattern together, he creates a child-like reimagining of our surroundings, indirectly deconstructing both painting and architecture. He exposes unacknowledged and possibly unconscious hierarchies by displacing painting, materials, and architecture from their traditional purpose.

Robert Taite holds an BFA from the University of Manitoba. He has exhibited consistently throughout Canada, at Art Los Angeles Contemporary in 2017 and twice at Art Toronto in 2014 and 2016. The artist is the recipient of numerous grants from the Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Canadian Arts Council. Taite was twice finalist for the esteemed Annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition in 2014 and 2015. He has forthcoming shows with AXENEO7 in Quebec and Angell Gallery in Toronto. In 2018, CYDONIA will present Taite’s first solo exhibition in the United States.

The artist lives and works in Winnipeg.

[1] Derrida, Jacques. (1991) Letter to a Japanese friend. In: A Derrida Reader (ed. P. Kamuf), pp. 270-276. Harvester, New York, New York.