Colin Taylor
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The Art Observer interview Jan 2011

Interview in The Art Observer
By Jo Eckersley

Colin Taylor’s artwork reflects the need to capture and store experience in its raw form. What results from this are paintings and drawings that show an almost intuitive expression of landscape. He refuses to provide his viewer with the simple equation; the familiar lines and forms which lead to the inevitable naming and categorising. This is intentional. He opens up the frame, so that the colours and textures are more than just sights, they become the temperature and the wind. It is Taylor’s own experience of the mountain on that day, in that season, noted down in oil paint.

Taylor’s work often has a sense of the Romantic’s idea of sublime about it. Does he look for drama in his subjects? He said that his one steadfast rule is that he must have actually been to the place he paints. This is in keeping with his ambition to paint ‘’about’’ landscape, rather than look to recreate the simple factual image. ‘’There are other dynamics at play’’- we never experience the world around us from simply a three-point perspective.

For Colin Taylor the experience of climbing a mountain is as essential to the creative process as the paint; he sees a ‘’reciprocal relationship between being in those huge weather-filled landscapes’’ and his own art practice.

‘’I say ‘reciprocal’, because whenever I was physically engaged with one, I was psychologically occupied with the other. I realised that when I was on a mountain-side, I was thinking about how that experience might translate into paint and when painting I was thinking about the place I had experienced. Each still does influence the other.’’ 

Painting’s use as a device for recording things seen has diminished with the advent of the camera. Colin Taylor has found a new use for painting; he records what can’t be captured on film. His experiential recordings are done on the spot or from memory, and they represent for Taylor an emotional journey of sorts. A camera represents in each pixel a perfect mapping-out of the visual landscape, an almost mathematical representation of what’s seen from one spot. Taylor’s painting and drawing has the confidence of stroke that defies this simple methodology. It is an emotional rather than optical expression.

Colin Taylor has two forthcoming exhibitions in the North West. For the first exhibition Taylor has produced a collection of drawings inspired by Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral. The imposing building, which has housed art from such infamous artists as Tracy Emin, will be displaying Taylor’s drawings from the 8th March until the 26th April. This is the first time Colin Taylor has created work specifically for a space.

At the Wendy J Levy Contemporary Art Gallery paintings created within the last three years in different locations will be displayed from the 8th (opening) until the 24th of June. They reflect the scope and strength of Taylor’s work. This exhibition will by no means lack unity, however, as Taylor describes himself: ‘’I don’t see each work as a stand-alone, single entity but part of my overall body of work. Each is a bridge between the previous and the next and such they are all just as important as each other’’.

The Art Observer, Jan 2011

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