discovery 2000 howard taylor phenomena

artwork : elements of taylor

Structure and Space : 2D & 3D Spaces

Discovery 2000
oil on incised shaped panel
200 x 193 x 36
Estate of Howard H. Taylor, courtesy of Galerie Düsseldorf, Perth
Discovery 2000
Still life with black figure 1994
synthetic polymer paint and oil on canvas
92 x 152.5
Collection Douglas and Magda Sheerer, Galerie Düsseldorf, Perth
Still life with black figure 1994
Four part unit 1994
synthetic polymer paint and oil on marine plywood
134 x 44.7 x 22.5
Estate of Howard H. Taylor, courtesy of Galerie Düsseldorf, Perth
Four part unit 1994
"when I first started making things I had this background of aeroplane structure, you make a plane and you cover it, that sort of thing but I also found in looking at the fragments of trees around that I became interested, not only in the outer structure of the tree but the inner structure of the tree and the tree has always fascinated me as a unit, from the roots upwards through the trunk to the branches through the forks to the outer flowering top".

Howard Taylor

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Divided sphere 2000
oil on two shaped panels
99 x 94.5 x 8.5
Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth
Divided sphere 2000
Study for Segment of a sphere 1987-1988
synthetic polymer paint on shaped card and composition board
17 x 17.3 x 3.9
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
Gift of Howard and Sheila Taylor, 2000
Study for Segment of a sphere 1987-1988
Segment of a sphere 1988
oil on jarrah
36.5 x 36.5 x 10
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
Segment of a sphere 1988
Contracurve 1994
synthetic polymer paint and oil on shaped panel
240 x 133 x 20
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
South Australian Government Grant, 1995
Contracurve 1994

In his search for something to paint, Taylor often revisited subjects and motifs he had explored decades earlier. Three motifs in particular can be seen to dominate - object on the ground, object on the wall, object in space. These three configurations of objects are all essentially preconditions for the perception of any object in any context, as they establish a structure for spatial contrast. Object on the ground, object on the wall and object in space were each extensively explored. Each is an abstract configuration used to establish contrast, an essential aspect of the creation of volumetric space in painting since the Venetians.  For Taylor they mark a return to basics and a shift from the figure/ground concerns of the previous decade. As a group the three motifs - object on the ground, object on the wall and object in space - first appeared in a small drawing Untitled (Spheres in space) c1956-1958. In this pencil drawing, two spheres, one translucent and one opaque, occupy a shallow interior perspective space. The use of a single light source creates the remainder of the dynamic, the opaque sphere casting its shadow on the wall and the translucent sphere concentrating the same light to create a 'light figure' in space.

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On the ground 1989
pastel on brown paper
28.5 x 31.5
Art Gallery of Western Australia
On the ground 1989
Object on the ground 1989
oil on canvas
90.5 x 120
Art Gallery of Western Australia
Object on the ground 1989

In the 1950s the themes of object on the ground, object on the wall and object in space were used by Taylor to set up the spatial dynamics of what can only be described as his conjectural representations of the landscape and his schematics for objects and their contexts. The flying machines, for example, are all presented hovering, grounded or in space. Stick insect 1958, the wall reliefs of 1963, Weathered jarrah 1997 and paintings such as Forest land 1982 and Light source reverse 1994 were all conceived as objects on a wall. Creature 1955 also contains an object on the ground - a small sphere in the upper left corner. Untitled (Object in space), a painted metal sculpture from 1956, and the painting rendering it as a still-life object viewed from directly above - Untitled (Object in space) 1958 - extend these same motifs.

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