discovery 2000 howard taylor phenomena

artwork : elements of taylor

Motifs : Forest Figures, Black Stump

Double self-portrait 1959
oil on composition board
73 x 85.2
Art Gallery of Western Australia
Double self-portrait 1959
In examining Taylor's work there appears to be not only a repetition of theme but also of motif. The compositional feature experienced in Double Self Portrait of the vertical bar with symmetrical shapes to the left and right is for example mirrored in Forest Figure and again in Tree Fork Fragment and finally in a more synthesized form in Landscape emblem and Winged Figure.
Forest figure 1977
oil on two shaped panels and zinc-coated steel cylinder
152.5 x 137 x 15.2
Art Gallery of Western Australia
Purchased with funds from the Art Acquisition Trust, 1989
Forest figure 1977
Tree fork fragment 1997
oil on canvas
123 x 92
Collection Peter Myers, Sydney
Tree fork fragment 1997
Landscape emblem 1984
oil on panel
102 x 144.8
The Holmes ŗ Court Collection, Heytesbury
Landscape emblem 1984
The striking burnt, blackened remnants of trees and tree stumps are also referenced in many works. The black stump, originally sited at the AMP building forecourt Perth now relocated to the University of Western Australia campus, is an obvious example.

A burnt stump is an inescapable fact of bush life and as the end of a cycle a reminder of a preceding life stage. The sculpture is a composition of elements similar to the fragments remaining in a burnt out tree. The grey and black patterns of the concrete allude to weathered and burnt wood and the colours of the mosaic to the sky and foliage. Two charcoal forms, each 4.57 metres high, stand protectively outside a charcoal coloured circle set into semi polished grey hexagonal slabs. Between the forms and beside the symbolic circle of life is the black stump, the symbol of a traditional Aboriginal meeting place.

The origins of the work's compositional motif are found in the 1950s work The remains and later in Stumps and ash. Taylor revisits the subject in the 1983 work Charred forest fragment which features a found and reworked piece of scorched jarrah. The resulting sculpture is reworked more than a decade later as two-dimensional study in oil.

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The remains 1950
watercolour, pastel, pen and ink on paper
28 x 38.4
Private collection, Western Australia
The remains 1950
Stumps and ash 1951
egg tempera on composition board
40.7 x 50.8
Private collection, Kalamunda, Western Australia
Stumps and ash 1951
Charred forest fragment c1983
scorched jarrah
33 x 24 x 18
Estate of Howard H. Taylor, courtesy of Galerie Düsseldorf, Perth
Charred forest fragment c1983
Charred forest fragment 1997
oil on canvas
122 x 92
Art Gallery of Western Australia
Purchased with funds from the Sir Claude Hotchin Art Foundation, 1998
Charred forest fragment 1997

Howard Taylor's background of model making also represents itself in his later sculptural works. His early aeroplane models were made by first creating a structure, which he then covered. Similarly, when looking at the fragments of tree, which caught his interest, he was drawn to considerations not only of the outer structure of the tree but its inner structure. The tree fascinating him as a unit from the roots upwards, through the trunk and to the fork of the branches to the outer flowering top.

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