Colin Taylor
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‘Conveying the power of place’ Oxford News - Dec 2009

Colin Taylor: A Short Walk in the big landscape.
New Greenham Arts, Oxfordhire

Colin Taylor is an artist obsessed with landscape, from Scotland and the Lake District to South America and Asia. Though landscape is his subject matter, these semi-abstract works show his individual, emotional response to the natural world. All are executed with a freedom and boldness of technique, imbuing them with immediacy, freshness and energy.

The artist is drawn to dramatic natural environments, to muscular land formations, to the lie of the land itself rather than landscape meeting sky on equal terms. The viewer feels the daunting physicality of these landscapes; we are drawn into steep gulley’s, mountain tarns and up towards summits.

The artist evokes the power of these places not only by strong highly resolved composition, but by his techniques and use of media. He works in combinations of pastel, charcoal and pencil on paper, and in oil, pastel and charcoal on canvas. Whatever the medium or combination of media, however, all of the work has a physicality that matches its subject matter. Vigorous mark-making and swirling brushstrokes are applied in a rich palette, pastel and charcoal worked with the same power and energy as impasted oils. Pastels here are powerful and evocative, retaining the development excitement of sketches alongside a more finished mood. The pleasingly worked depth of surface of the oils, implied in other works, suggests natures power and its state of flux: these landscapes are living, developing environments.

Four linked works of Coniston Water (pastels and charcoals on paper), worked a sombre yet rich colours, have a palpable energy. Hoya del Tajo are two vertical compositions of saturated ochres, reds and greens, with black delineating topographical features. They have a structural energy, a feeling of pre-cubist Spanish motifs of Picasso and Braque.

Taylor’s works are devoid of figures yet sometimes hint at human presence, as in the monochromatic Gandan Monastery; in the brilliant hues of Rabha Kedima, which suggest the crush and colour of a souk: and in the three interiors of The Florrie.

In Agouti 1, 2 and 3, fiercely applied dense reds, yellows and oranges evoke the blinding North African heat. By contrast, similarly rich colours are used in a more restrained way in three pictures of Scotland, creating a topographical coolness.

Lin Wilkinson.
Oxford Weekly News

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