From the coffee shops we frequent to the flyers we pass on the street, the omnipresence of art in our everyday lives is difficult to ignore. However, even a self-proclaimed art critic can become too preoccupied with the daily grind to notice opportunities to appreciate art. Embarrassingly enough, I remained completely oblivious to the fact that the hair salon I had frequented for over a year doubled as an art gallery. By simply opening my eyes while the stylist washed my hair, I learned that Studio Quest, located at 332 W. Gorham, routinely offers art exhibitions on their second floor. After a brief discussion with owner Charlene Quest, I learned that the gallery not only displays the work of well-known established artists, but local artists as well.

There’s no need to make an appointment or feel intimidated by the salon’s trendy atmosphere, as the second-floor gallery is open to the public, and the employees are friendly and helpful. Large windows in the relatively open gallery space allow plenty of natural lighting to view the displays, and a comfy black leather couch gives visitors a spot to relax and absorb their surroundings. The displays rotate every month, with themes ranging from fashion design to photography. Artists interested in presenting their work in the gallery can show their portfolios to Quest, who is intimately involved in the art community and has displayed the work of only local artists in the past.

Throughout April the gallery will display the work of the multi-talented painter, illustrator and photographer Scott Taylor, who also teaches photography through the American Collegiate Association. Taylor, who received his undergraduate degree in illustration from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, came to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000 and will receive his master of fine arts degree this May. Taylor has chosen to display examples of his paintings, drawings and digital process creations, saying that he enjoys exploring all aspects of his education and does not want to “commit creative suicide” by restricting himself to a single medium.

Although drawing appears to be his forte, I was most enchanted by his painting. The five rectangle panels of acrylic on masonite perfectly complement one another and create an amazing flow between the separate images. While the fifth panel, “Neural Streaming,” impressed me when I viewed it in the seventh floor of the Humanities building earlier this year, its striking appearance was even more effective when viewed next to four thematically similar and equally stirring works. As a whole, the works represent what Taylor described as “abstract anatomy.” After slight observation, the abstract shapes clearly take the forms of different inner-workings of the body.

The first panel, “Marrow Extractions III,” can be easily deciphered as the interior of a bone. The small lines and cracks painted on the forms show excellent detail and give the otherwise abstract shapes the small imperfections necessary for them to appear as bones. A common aspect to each of the panels, the piece has a light source that radiates from the center of the shapes. The progression of light to the center attracts the viewer’s eye and gives each piece a focal point. However, the viewer may become slightly confused in this piece, as the eye is eventually drawn to this point where the downward progression of detail leaves the viewer unsatisfied, sending the eye back to the more vibrant parts of the work.

The second piece, “Neuro Tropics,” uses the same intense detail and color to depict what I thought to be stretched tendons. The third, “Methane Hive,” I interpreted to be bone shafts instead of joints, as was seen in the first panel. This piece differed in that the detail remained consistent with the progression of light to the center. Despite the jumbled state of the lines in the center, Taylor’s use of overlapping shows that the placement of lines is more deliberate and skilled than that of the apparent scribble.

The fourth panel, “Strands,” shows the unmistakable shape of a DNA-inspired double helix. The detail of the piece is most apparent in the fibrous steps of the ladders that seem to control the shape of the protein strands. The ladders hug and curve at the edges of the canvas, as Taylor has utilized every inch of space to create his desired effect.

Besides the paintings, which I am seriously considering purchasing in smaller copied forms, Taylor’s illustrations also show similar depictions of the body’s intricacies. His meticulous details and tiny shapes show the confidence of a skilled hand. In contrast to the other works, one piece simply depicts a profiled image of a head with its top opening on a hinge. Taylor revealed that the thought-provoking image was used as the cover art for the album of an artist whose music has influenced his work. Taylor described his relationship with these musicians, Vir Unis and Majale, as symbiotic in that his work is tied to the rhythms of their music as much as their music is influenced by the images in his art. The musicians will perform at the show’s opening in Studio Quest on Saturday, April 10 at 7 p.m. The opening, which is open to the public, will be catered by Luther’s Blues and will offer a chance for visitors to discuss the art with Taylor and the musicians who have been involved in the creative process.

If you can’t make it to hear the entertainment at the opening reception, the display itself will definitely offer enough visual stimulation to compensate, as a continuous slide show of Taylor’s works will be projected on an empty wall at all times. Even if you can’t make it to see Taylor’s show or his work is not suited to your taste, the gallery in Studio Quest is sure to offer something interesting, as the mediums and artists displayed change monthly. Next month the students from the UW fashion design program will display their work, complete with a runway show.