Monday, 1 March 2021

Spacestorm

 

2016, Mixed Media on Board

Size 25cms x 44cms, including frame 50cms x 68.5cms. 


This painting employs a variety of mixed media techniques to visually describe the spatial dynamics of an incoming coastal storm and the relative insignificance of humans in relation to such powerful natural forces.
I have physically experienced many such coastal storms, especially when researching my 'Flamborough Series' in the very early 'eighties, but a particularly dramatic and thus, memorable instance took place on the North Cornish Coast at Portreath in the 1970's and was essentially the source for this picture.


Given this, it is not difficult to understand why Turner felt he had to lash himself bodily to a ship's mast in order to gain the direct experience necessary to paint 'Snow -Storm, Steam-Boat off a Harbour Mouth'.
In such circumstances, the portrayal of detail is futile, as the experience is all-consuming and overwhelming - only the controlled energy of expressionism will serve the purpose.

George Taylor
February 2021

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Seasurge Penwith



This work is a three-dimensional visual composite of several locations on the Penwith coast where the tidal surges interact dynamically and dramatically with the hard, geological landscape.





At Gwennap Head, for example, the red and the black and white navigation markers, appear incongruous in the natural landscape and have a strange, other-worldly feel, rather like the surreal, geometric sculptural objects in some of the paintings of Paul Nash, or of Giorgio De Chirico. 




However, to describe these artefacts literally in a piece such as this would not be apposite, as the work is about extreme movement, colour and physical energy, so perhaps in the disorienting maelstrom of a coastal storm, the red cone becomes less distinct and more blurred.





My painting from 2009, titled Wild Sea Rising, (in Gallery 1 of my web site) is concerned with the natural power and uncontrollable force of the ocean expressed in a painterly expressionistic manner, whilst in Seasurge Penwith the interaction between water, wind and coast is described using three dimensional materials.



Wild Sea Rising by George Taylor


In his work, the late Cornish born painter Peter Lanyon, often depicts a complex version of landscape from multiple angles, rather than from the conventional single ‘window’ viewpoint, thus the image becomes an all-encompassing expression of experience, albeit in two dimensions. Lanyon also made three dimensional constructions in order to translate into visual terms complex phenomenological interaction.


George Taylor

December 2020

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