21 MAR – 14 APR 2018
Gallery 9 is pleased to present a new series of landscape paintings by Michael Taylor. Comprising twelve works, the exhibition focuses on two consistent subjects in Taylor's practice: the Monaro region south of Canberra, where he resides, and the adjacent southern coastline of NSW.
Although abstract in the traditional sense, Taylor's landscapes are palpably real. Light, wind, rain, sun and air are magisterially conjured with bold, direct mark making. Now in his eighty-fifth year, Taylor demonstrates full control of the brush, letting it slap and drip, or delicately dance, to give precise atmospheric effects. Thin veils of warm colour glow from underneath some paintings, suggesting a golden or crepuscular light. In others, churning blues and greens give the impression of salt-spray and the rhythmic movement of the sea.
The contours of the land—its horizons, coastlines and hills—are difficult to identify in the works. Landmarks are largely absent. Instead, the landscape is described as layered, light-filled and watery—a textural space one might sift through. For Taylor, the landscape is a ground for observing the variety and nuance of nature's changing phenomena. His paintings give full expression to its sensory embrace.
This survey exhibition speaks of the enormous consistency of Taylor's artistic vision and his ability to tap into the pulse of his environment. I can think of no other non-Indigenous Australian artist who has managed to paint water and the spirit of water with such evocative power. Mangroves (2004) and Flash Flood (1997) both speak of the beauty and power of a watery environment with all of their subtlety and variety. One leaves this exhibition convinced of the power and validity of the art of painting as a transformative and cleansing experience. Taylor's paintings are a source of revelation and inspiration.
Now in his early 80s, Michael Taylor is one of the major painters working in Australia today. In his art there is a distilled maturity and a highly developed sense of visual intelligence, but there is also a great freshness and preparedness to embrace new challenges and to work with unconventional colour combinations. This is one of the most memorable exhibitions of his work to date.
—Sasha Grishin, review of Michael Taylor: 1963–2016, Canberra Museum and Art Gallery; Canberra Times, 18 July 2016
Michael Taylor (b.1933) has exhibited regularly since 1963 after completing his diploma at the National Art School (then East Sydney Technical College). In 1971 he relocated to the Monaro region south of Canberra and today divides his time between his property in Cooma and the far south coast of NSW. A complete survey of Taylor's distinguished career was presented in 2016 at the Canberra Museum and Gallery.
The National Gallery of Australia holds the most extensive collection of Taylor’s works, numbering one hundred and fifteen paintings, collages and drawings. Taylor is also represented in the collections of the Art Gallery of NSW, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Joye Art Foundation, High Court of Australia, Parliament House Art Collection and the collections of Artbank and BHP.
Taylor has shown in historically important exhibitions including the Biennale des Jeunes, Paris (1963); Contemporary Australian Painting, Los Angeles (1966); Australian Art Today, touring South-East Asia (1969); Ten Australians, touring Europe (1974–75); Landscape and Abstraction, Nolan Gallery (1986); I had a dream, NGV (1996); and more recently, Moist, NGA (2005); and Fireworks, touring QLD, NSW and VIC regional galleries (2005).
New Paintings is Taylor's sixth exhibition at Gallery 9.