object in the ground '89 howard taylor phenomena

phenomena exhibition : catalogue


Visual Experience and Pictorial Structure
Gary Dufour, Deputy Director, Art Gallery of Western Australia

The landscape Ė in particular the Western Australian bush Ė was the single unifying factor evident within Howard Taylorís work throughout his career. Over a period of fifty-five years, through observation and recollection, he synthesised in his works a personal motif based wholly on the landscape. Taylorís continuous program of exploration, experimentation and innovation, evident throughout the entire range of his production, was an affirmation of the vitality of the landscape tradition as a contemporary idiom. In addition to the continuity established by addressing the landscape, the particularities of locality also underscored his perceptions. Taylor produced his works in only two locations, spending an initial eighteen-year 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. These are common characteristics of regional styles, not unique to Western Australia.

In a Silent Way
Russel Storer, Curator of Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art

Silence is integral to Taylorís art. His work is derived from the landscape, in particular the Western Australian forest where he lived, yet is not a landscape of squawking birds or rushing givers. Taylorís is a rigorously synthesized landscape based on the analysis of changing light and weather conditions, the life cycles of the karri trees that surrounded his studio, the sensations of driving through the bush or along the coast. It is a landscape as experienced by an artist living within it. This subject provided the foundation for solving fundamental problems of art making, a quest that consumed Taylor for more than fifty years.