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  • Howard Taylor
  • A Major exhibition of three dimensional works and associated paintings and drawings
  • Sculptures - Constructions - Paintings - Maquettes - Drawings
  • Galerie Dusseldorf : 14 February - 11 April 2010
  • Massive undertaking : Howard Taylor's exhibition at Galerie Dusseldorf.
    • An extensive exhibition of three-dimensional works and associated paintings and drawings restates Howard Taylor's place on the map.
      This show at Galerie Dusseldorf is a massive undertaking and, again taking the notion of spectatorship, puts Taylor at the forefront of all
      those fond of watching time pass. Indeed, this is Taylor's oeuvre and as light fades and the very material around us breaks down, his work
      assures us of the naturalness of this and more so, the beauty inherent in these processes.
      What's interesting about this monumental show, 111 works in all, is that Taylor's work, in as much as it is about time and place, also sits outside
      time the work is ageless.
      The gallery floor is dominated by a series of big sculptures, each evoking Taylor's love of wood. If the floor is dominated by sculpture then the gallery
      itself is dominated by the cavernous Sky Figure.
      The resonating blue hues fold in on the hollowed form to allow an expansive place for contemplation. This piece highlights Taylor's strength an ability to
      vibrate a form out into the space that surrounds it, encompassing the viewer.
      The back part of the gallery holds a number of sketches and models for public artworks.
      The exhibition is a lesson in patience and observation, but also in vitality and consistency.
    • Ric Spencer : The West Australian 09 April 2010
Catalogue 5 pages : 1-48 | 49-96 | 97-144 | 145-192 | references 193-219

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*National Gallery of Australia
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*National Gallery of Australia
* UWA VC/AR/12/2011  
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HT13detail.JPG * UWA VC/AR/12/2011  

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Private Collection SA 
Meeting Howard and Sheila Taylor in 1983 in many ways transformed my life. I was 28 beginning a curatorial career in WA and he was 64 well into the fourth decade and at the start of the two decades when his work and reputation would consolidate to make him one of Australia's most important artists.Curator's sort of have an 'access all areas' pass but there was more than a little trepidation when I set out on the five hour drive to meet someone who was even then a bit of a local legend. My job as a curator was to establish trust, make a relationship so in a couple of years we could present his first retrospective at the State Gallery. All I can say is what luck, a twenty year friendship, three major exhibitions all built from his enormous generosity and intellect.Howard was practical and pragmatic and created visual poetry with a structured vision underlying every work.His work is about perception, how we see and how light illuminates the environment. His personal challenge was an exploration of what one might do as an artist through close and detailed observation, to understand and communicate visual discoveries – discoveries that are renewed, refreshed and completely different every hour, every minute. Howard paid attention to the world and asks viewers to do the same.In many ways the 'take away' from great art, from Howard's art, is how it transforms how you can see and experience the world. But back to the 'access all areas' curator's pass and an attempt through some personal anecdotes to answer the question I get asked the most about Howard – "what was he like?"I thought I might do this by talking about a few works in this magnificent exhibition, an exhibition, like all of Howard's that offers even people who have known his work over decades revelatory moments.
But first I want to congratulate Doug and Magda on creating such a sensitive and extraordinary exhibition, an exhibition that many a public art museum would be proud to claim as their own curatorial work. Howard was humble, generous, engaged and witty. He was a synthetic thinker who often built ideas for works over decades. The result were works that were an accumulation of observations from the natural world over seasons and across every time of day. His comments in 1984 on 'Forked Figure' for example drew on the coruscations of light in foliage but equally when describing it to me he reached for a book and began to discuss how Andrea Mantegna constructed space in his paintings in the 15 century. A time before perspective had fully taken hold and light and colour were king. 'Sky figure' 1977 is equally a triumph of light observed, colour and form. And no surprise that painted objects like this are at the centre of the friendship and exchange with another artist renowned for her interest in optics and perception – Brigitte Riley, who through chance – a Qantas strike in Perth and mutual friends Bryant and Teddy McDiven found herself in Taylor's Northcliffe studio.Howard was fascinated by the figure to ground contrast that determines all vision. How context guides perception. However he wasn't timid about isolating an observation, a specimen, a colour to use it again to create a new combination, a new perceptual construction. An example in this exhibition would be cat no. 38, the grey and green painting. This type of composition was a core interest for a couple of decades. In these pictures he takes a specimen of observed colour, the sky and combines it with second phenomena observed, another specimen of colour this time from a paddock, cloud or the forest. Many of the drawings also reflect a core interest throughout his work – objects in space – the source for his conjectural representations of the landscape or as he describes it "My intention to make equivalents for an experience of landscape. Simplifications, a reduction down to the observed fundamentals of a complex naturalistic subject."This brings me back to my earlier comment about great art – I believe Taylor's art gives you the toolbox to see and as such his gifts enrich everyone who encounters his art. I encourage all of you to come back to see this exhibition often, and with luck you might chance on the solitude of the meditative and contemplative life of a genius who never stopped looking at the world refining his perception and sharing his discoveries.
Gary Dufour Opening Speech : 14 February 2010