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Howard Taylor: Phenomena

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


17 Sep 2003 to 30 Nov 2003

Guest Curator: Gary Dufour

about the exhibition

The work of Howard Taylor (1918-2001) presents a unique vision of the Australian landscape. Taylor lived and worked in the forests of Western Australia for over five decades. He created a personal vocabulary of motifs drawn from the landscape, informed by close observation of visual phenomena such as shifting light and atmospheric conditions, and the life cycles of the land. In doing so, Taylor produced paintings, drawings and sculptures that investigated fundamental problems of perception by blending traditional techniques with experimental methods.

This exhibition focused on major periods of Howard Taylor’s artistic activity, including the 1950s, when Taylor’s key artistic concerns first emerged, and the 1970s, when Taylor began living near the Western Australian town of Northcliffe. The primary emphasis, however, was on work from the 1980s and 1990s, when Taylor refined and developed motifs such as the discs, columns and winged ‘forest figures’. These refined and innovative works brought together painting and sculpture to create new forms that explored how the visual effects of light define space.

The exhibition also included a series of models, which provided an insight into Taylor’s meticulous working processes. In the George Street foyer of the MCA, a screening of selected public sculptures and the ABC documentary film Howard Taylor: Forest Artist augmented the exhibition.

Howard Taylor PHENOMENA was the first major survey of Taylor’s work since 1985, and the first to be held outside Western Australia. It provided a rare opportunity to experience the breadth of Taylor’s practice and the major contribution that he made to Australian contemporary art and our perception of the land.

This exhibition was a joint initiative of the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the MCA.

Tour Itinerary

Art Gallery of Western Australia, WA: 5 February – 2 May 2004
Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Vic: 13 July – 29 August 2004
Griffith Artworks, Qld: 24 September – 31 October 2004
Cairns Regional Gallery, Qld: 28 January – 13 March 2005
New England Regional Art Museum, NSW: 1 April – 15 May 2005
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Tas: 6 June – 31 August 2005
Orange Regional Galleries, Vic: 9 September – 16 October 2005
Bunbury Regional Galleries, WA: 8 December 2005 – 29 January 2006
Geraldton Regional Galleries, WA: 10 February – 16 April 2006

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