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

'White Rock' appears currently on the UK Artists online 'Artsy' Gallery page

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

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


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.

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