Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Encounter

 

2010, 80cms x 80cms, acrylic paint, textile, paper and pencil on canvas. 

Visual art that does not pretend to be a constructed representation of something else in the real world but is itself a discrete entity in the real world, should like music, have an autonomous, ‘life of its own.’ It should have an energy, a vitality, should excite the senses and the emotions, hopefully, beyond self-conscious thought and words. 

Unless there is an immediate and lasting connection with the senses and vitally, directly with the observers’ nervous system, it is likely to serve no purpose beyond the decorative. 

The late American abstract expressionist painter Franz Kline, when asked to explain his abstraction said: 'I’ll answer you in the same way Louis Armstrong does when they ask him what it means when he blows his trumpet. Louis says, Brother, if you don’t get it, there is no way I can tell you.’ 

There is a tendency to over intellectualise painting and art in general and of course, this the territory of the critics and the curators, but frankly, with the entity in front of you, you either respond or you do not. There may of course be degrees of response, and provided you do not automatically reject within a few seconds, as many do, more complete and satisfying responses may occur given prolonged engagement. 

However, as Louis firmly implied, there is no way that he, or anyone else can explain, or teach you how you should respond, or what you should feel, but the receptive viewer will know instinctively if that vital connection has been made. 

From a suite of four paintings: Encounter, Odyssey, Enigma and Quest, on Gallery 7 of my website. 

George Taylor 

October 2020 

Friday, 9 October 2020

The Wind Grabs the Whisper

 

This work is mixed media on oil board, and is set within a hardwood frame.


All the pictures one makes have a strong emotional self connection, that almost goes without saying, otherwise what is the point of making them, but some have an especially deep bond, and for that reason one would be reluctant to let them go; this, for me, is one of those pictures, and although it has been shown a number of times, I would miss its presence in our home.

It is mixed media on board, made in 2010, and although it has the appearance of being heavily collaged, as well as painted, there are in fact only a few collaged elements, in the sense that they originally were once discrete elements which later have been adhered to the picture surface.

The technique, which I have developed myself over many years, involves creating a complex ground of largely pastel, carefully fixed in numerous layers and, then cut back into using sharp blades whilst adding gestural and considered marks in acrylic and pencil. It is very much a process of building up colour shape and texture and then removing some of the previous layers, over and over again, until one arrives at a resolved image.

There is an indication of an horizon line, so most people construe it as a kind of landscape, albeit a very abstracted one, but it is a ‘landscape’ that has pictorial movement and energy, rather than a literal rendering of a landscape that is fixed and static. The shapes and marks move with and against each other to create a restless dynamic that although made of fixed materials, like paint and canvas remnants, is visually not ‘still’ at all.

Essentially, non figurative pictures don’t need descriptive titles, as they have no obligation to describe, or to refer to anything beyond themselves, let alone to offer some kind of narrative, but often a carefully considered title can add something to the impact of an image, without detraction; sometimes in a lyrical, poetical sense.

This image operates somewhere in the place between experience and imagination, so in the interaction of visual energy, in the marks, colours and textures, made in a great variety of ways, maybe one can at least symbolically, given a degree of engagement, discern how the wind may have ‘grabbed the whisper’?

George Taylor
August 2020


Taylor-Thwaites Studios, Stonewalls, Sturt Road, Charlbury, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 3EP
Tel: 01608 810174
Email: gtaylor44@aol.com  
Web: www.georgetaylorart.com/gallery1




Sunday, 16 August 2020

White Rock

 


"A painting is a physical entity and, if successful, to the responsive viewer, hopefully, will engender a 'physical' experience via the eyes and the human nervous system, just as an actual encounter with powerful natural forces will directly affect the senses and the nervous system. It follows that the more extreme the exposure the greater the impact this will have, not merely at the time of the experience, but in a lasting manner via memory and recollection.

Terry Frost made a painting called Force Eight which was an immediate and direct response to a walk to his studio in St Ives in a force eight gale, the result is a unique abstracted rendering of that particular 'forceful' experience in paint. 

Patently, it is not a detailed figurative rendering of the experience, but was for him the essence of that totally engaging event expressed in colour, form and critically the feeling of dynamic energy conveyed through the marks left by the expressionistic brushstrokes, and the masterful use of pictorial space.

My painting here is not quite as 'abstracted' as Terry's but is the consequence of a similar 'all-embracing', and totally engaging experience in the face of powerful natural forces in a particular and imposing location."

George Taylor


Taylor-Thwaites Studios,
Stonewalls, Sturt Road, Charlbury, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 3EP.
01608 810174
wwwgeorgetaylorart.com

'White Rock' appears currently on the UK Artists online 'Artsy' Gallery page
https://www.artsy.net/artwork/george-taylor-white-rock


Monday, 29 June 2020

Wheal Country




Place and Time: Botallack Mines

I have visited the site of the former mine complex at Botallack a number of times, over many years, and consequently have retained a clear image of that location in my memory, which I can access from my mental ‘filing system’ at any time, almost like a ‘picture postcard’ that I carry around in my head.

Except that my ‘picture postcard’ image is very different to the stereotypical, ready-made ‘composition’ of the dramatically situated, but now long derelict former Crowns engine houses, dropping sequentially and precariously down to the sea, with the tide pounding at the rocks into which their foundations are set.






W.S. Grahams’ poignant poem, The Thermal Stair, about his friend, the Cornish born painter, Peter Lanyon, evokes the unique atmosphere of this and of other nearby places on this ‘Tin Coast’, with their bleak and seemingly, randomly placed archaeological remnants, which speak to me as much about the hardnosed and dangerous industry and fairly recent human history, as they do of an untainted, natural, and sublime coastal landscape.


Peter, I called and you were away, speaking
Only through what you made and at your best.

Look, there above Botallack, the buzzard riding………..






There are numerous, fragmented hints throughout this liminal coastal landscape, (as well as those lost in the mine-workings deep beneath the ocean) scattered bits and pieces, made as much from concrete and wrought iron, as from stone, which now abstracted from their original context, are gradually in the process of being reclaimed by nature and defaced by man, offering only vague clues as to their actual purpose within the whole.










So a pictorial illusion, a realistic representation combining constructed perspective with ‘meticulous craft and miraculous detail’, to paraphrase Robert Motherwell; like a mere ‘picture postcard’, would not for me, do justice to the feelings and responses, these once unblemished natural coastal locations, now scarred and littered with strange and abandoned post-industrial detritus and relics, generate. 










Therefore, a metaphorical and symbolic synthesis of what I have felt, and seen as a result of directly experiencing this dramatic location over a long period of time, a kind of abstracted reinvention, rather than a mere illustrative copy, is for me a truer means of expressing my particular sense of this place.

I do not rely on photographs to make an image, that would be disingenuous and counterintuitive, but I have included a few of the snaps I took at Botallack around ten years ago, simply as references for some of the visual elements used in Wheal Country.

George Taylor


Friday, 1 May 2020

Ancient Land




It is not always helpful to attempt to explain a painting such as this in words. It is, after all, a constructed image, and is necessarily ‘of itself’, a material, but not a literal entity and words can sometimes mislead and become counterproductive. 
If we insist on interpreting  visual art ‘literally’, we can easily miss the point, art has no obligation to represent
figuratively, neither is there an essential need for it to be justified in words, any more than does music or dance.
Songs and poems are usually comprised of words, but should not need additional ‘words’ to prop them up.  
It is not understanding that really matters, but feeling and connection.
It is a risky business putting a picture ‘out there’, as it has to stand up entirely for itself, and is thus totally vulnerable – the best one can hope for, is that in some, there might be that connection.  
However, when I made this work in 2012, I gave it the title Ancient Land, partly because at that time I had been thinking a lot about Eliot’s, East Coker, from his Four Quartets, and certain passages from that poem may have been at the forefront of my mind.

                                              In that open field
If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close,
On a summer midnight, you can hear the music
Of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see them dancing around the bonfire………

What does the term ancient mean?
We tend to use the word relatively, in terms of modern human history, but in that sense, ‘ancientness’ is just a few millennia, but in terms of the age of the Universe, the Solar System, and the Planet, not really very much at all.

George Taylor
April 2020



Taylor-Thwaites Studios, Stonewalls, Sturt Road, Charlbury, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 3EP
01608 810174
www.georgetaylorart.com   www.janicethwaites.org.uk



Friday, 13 March 2020

Homage to Barcelona




Barcelona, the place, is about energy, vitality, and colour and thus,
inevitably about art.

The art of Joan Miro, Picasso, Gaudi and, for me especially, Antoni Tapies, all of whom are celebrated by museums in the city.

The unique verve and dynamic of the Catalonian capital is compelling, and in my view, can only be effectively be expressed visually and emotionally in abstracted form. The only real concession to a landscape format in the picture is a broad hint of a horizon line as if looking down spatially on to the city from the lofty heights of Montjuic Hill, where the architecturally inspiring Fundacio Joan Miro is located.

Thus, this image is the synthesis of an experience, rather than a single viewpoint ‘representation’, an aggregate of organised fragments of a vital, living place - movement, colour, form and space, and all those other qualities which make the city greater than the sum of its parts.

How else could one pay homage to the essence of this unique place in two-dimensional terms, mere figuration could not do justice to its spirit, its history or its art.

However, it is vital that a painting transcends its ‘subject’ and becomes something else, something autonomous, that is able to stand on its own, otherwise what would be the point of making it. In that sense, the title ‘Homage to Barcelona’ is essentially, a term of reference.

George Taylor
February 2020

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Should you wish to view this work in our studio gallery, please call us on 01608 810174. It is attractively framed in limewashed hardwood and set in a wide, deep cut, white mount.

‘Homage to Barcelona’ has been shown at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Gallery, in Birmingham, of which George is a Full Member, and was also included in the selection for the Ironstone Art Prize at Banbury Museum in 2018. It also appears currently on the UK Artists online ‘Artsy’ Gallery page.
https://www.artsy.net/uk-artists-limited

Taylor-Thwaites Studios, Stonewalls, Sturt Road, Charlbury, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 3EP.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

When Only the Moon Rages



The title of this mixed media painting is borrowed from a poem called ‘In my Craft or Sullen Art’ by Dylan Thomas.
I made the work in 2009, I was familiar with the poem, but chose the title after completing it, as for me, when making a painting, it is vital that I am as free as is possible from the direct influence of a  conscious subject.   
The  intention is to convey a sense of drama, in the contrast between the hot colours in the lower third of the picture, and the cooler, deep blues in the upper two thirds, the intersected and conjoined diversity of marks across the picture plane, contribute to a feeling of circular motion and restless energy.
The picture is also about materials per se, not merely as a vehicle for creating an illusion, but materials ‘of themselves’. The lower half is comprised of thick impasto, applied by whatever blades and tools seemed most appropriate at the time,  sometimes the paint is scraped off, to show previous layers.
The colour to the upper half is vigorously applied by brush and palette knife. In parts, some masking has been used, and in others the surface is gouged through to the paper;  the angular, but nebulous marks are made with pastel and chalk.
The aim of this truly, mixed media approach, is to create as much surface interest as possible, whilst at the same time, striving to make an immediate and visually arresting image.

George Taylor
October 2019

Taylor-Thwaites Studios, Stonewalls, Sturt Road, Charlbury, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 3EP
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This picture is on Saunders Waterford (300lb) Cotton Mould Made Acid Free Paper, set within a deep cut, off-white mount within a lime-washed hardwood frame.  It measures 81 centimetres x 100 centimetres overall and will be included in Mallam’s, Modern and Post War British Art Sale in Oxford on Friday 6th December 2019. (max.fisher@mallams.co.uk  01865241358