The West Australian 22/03/2013
Howard Taylor (1918-2001) : Discovery - Development - Ideas : SIX Decades 1946 - 2001
‘Unfettered and Uncompromising’
In an age of ever decreasing human dexterity, one can only look on in wonderment at the ‘eye, brain, hand’ combination that brings to the forefront the work of Howard Taylor.
Unfettered and uncompromising, Taylor worked by natural light only, starting early and finishing when natural light diminished, Taylor’s palette of hues and tones remained as pure as could be, unadulterated by the yellow veil of incandescent light.
The essence of Taylor’s work manifested itself in a long personal research journey and the constant bearing of witness. ‘Bearing witness in an absolute sense’ allowed Taylor notational space in which to study his subject, whether it was in the land or the sky, by day or by night.
At one with nature, Taylor’s relationship with his land and sky was direct, unfiltered and ever demanding.
Taylor achieved true assimilation and oneness with his space, absorbing nuances and discovering much
that would enable him to be constantly challenged by his own prescriptions.
This rigour would allow him to continually develop his subject matter from figurative, notational examination to an intensity of understanding that would vaporise into ‘pure distilled essence’.
This exhibition picks up in 1946.
Taylor was a young 28 year old newly demobbed pilot, released in 1945 from some 5 years in German POW camps.
It is difficult to imagine what it would have felt like emerging from incarceration to a relative post war freedom.
Taylor was never bitter about his time spent in Germany and Poland, saying that he was always treated with respect and ‘it focused his mind’.
Taylor’s solidarity enabled him to concentrate on the matter in hand rather than what may or may not be.
It was as a POW that he realised his future would be as an artist, and it was to that end he strove on a daily basis.
Post war England offered little in the way of creature comforts.
However Taylor was no stranger to rationing, a trait he was to follow throughout his life.
‘Possessions’ were for others. ‘Essentials’ were artist’s materials and enough to get by on for his family and himself.
As long as he could work as an artist following his interests then he was truly at peace.
Birmingham became his base and art school experience (1946 - 48).
His many excursions to the country and London’s museums fed his eager curiosity and he began to understand his future interests lay in the country, not in the city.
He subsequently returned to Perth with his wife Sheila and child in 1949.
The early days have been well documented by Gary Dufour’s captivating first major retrospective of Taylor’s work at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 1985 ‘Howard Taylor : Sculptures - Paintings - Drawings 1942-1984’
and later in 1995 by Ted Snell’s book ‘Howard Taylor - forest figure’
Dufour’s 2003 second retrospective ‘Howard Taylor : Phenomena’ at AGWA, MCA Sydney, Ian Potter Gallery, Melbourne and travelling, focussed mainly on the last twenty years of Taylor’s practice.
Our own association with Howard Taylor began in 1987.
David Bromfield’s exhibition ‘Among the Souvenirs, Western Australian Art in the Eighties’ held at The Art Gallery of Western Australia’s old Beaufort Street Building included a few of Howard Taylor’s works.
We were re-captivated and there began our own Howard Taylor collection and subsequently our representation of Howard Taylor with our first pivotal solo exhibition in 1988 ‘Howard Taylor : Object - Space - Figure - Ground, recent Paintings and Drawings’
This 2013 exhibition marks the eighteenth solo exhibition of Howard Taylor’s work held by Galerie Düsseldorf.
We trust you will enjoy this exhibition covering SIX DECADES of intense artistic practice.
Douglas + Magda Sheerer Directors
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