double self portrait howard taylor phenomena

artist : bickley & northcliffe

Next Saturday Mr. Taylor will hold an exhibition of an unusual kind at the bush-surrounded house in Mitchell-road, Bickley, which has been his home for 18 years. More than 100 paintings and pieces of sculpture …will be auctioned in what is in effect a clearance sale before Mr. Taylor and his wife go to live in Northcliffe.

Hillary Merrifeld, The West Australian June 1967

Thus ended a period, begun 18 years earlier in January 1949, when the artist returned to Western Australia with his wife, Sheila. Settling in ‘Aldersyde’, Bickley, in the hills east of Perth, he built a studio on the sixty-acre property. Taylor’s life from that point reflected his desire to live in immediate proximity to the land, a choice that had a profound effect on his production and on the pattern and pace of his evolving career as an Australian artist.

Taylor produced his works in only two locations, this initial period in Bickley and then thirty-five years in Northcliffe. The works produced in both of these places share equally his sense of isolation and the effects of insulation.

Duncan Graham in a 1979 article for The West Australian describes Taylor’s south west home as being …in the wettest and wildest spot in the south-west.

Finding Taylor is an aid to understanding his art. The lady in the grocery-cum-grog cum –everything shop in the tiny timber town of Northcliffe, 400 km south of Perth, knows everybody. But she doesn’t know where Taylor lives…The local potter has heard of the man, but has never seen him. ….The roads to his property are like sheep tracks through jungle…..The bush is so dense that you can be hopelessly lost five paces from the road. . When trees crash down blocking roads, the local practice is to cut a car-wide gap leaving the fallen timber where it lies.