Every so often, an artist who perceives the unseen currents beneath the veneer of life comes along to move the heartstrings of the masses. Bernie Taupin, a storyteller who shapes word and image, is doubly gifted.
As the 50-year songwriting partner of Elton John, Taupin writes lyrics for the duo’s legendary songs. As a lifelong artist, he wrangles visual stories from found objects, repurposed materials, artifacts, and text. Taupin reveals meaning in sculptural constructs that jar wisps of reality into sobering focus. His visceral creations draw attention to the porous boundary between tactile and visual perception and stir the subterranean passions of our sociological landscape.
In Taupin’s recent works, string and wire bind iconic symbols – American flags and sightless masks – exposing the tenuous networks of humanity that both connect and constrict. Remnants of broken musical instruments scorched by fire and marred by splatters of paint, carefully chosen found objects, and scrawled words assemble on backgrounds of faded newsprint, distressed cardboard, and other surfaces. They deconstruct whispers of a simpler past while stirring questions of an increasingly complicated future. Red, white, and blue themes scream ever-changing identities that seek independence and query the slippery meaning of patriotism.
The truest of artists feel deeply. They see multiple angles and hear the sounding of unfathomable depths. They are bestowed with the ever-rising challenge to express what is observed, envisioned, absorbed, and gleaned – always reaching Beyond the Yellow Brick Road.
Bernie Taupin, expressing through multiple forms - is one of those artists. His lyrics make you laugh and cry. His art makes you question . . . and think.