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Nathan Taylor: the poetics of excess Emily Cloney and Michael Reid


Nathan Taylor: the poetics of excess


Nathan Taylor: the poetics of excess


www.nathantaylor.com.au email: info@nathantaylor.com.au Nathan Taylor is represented by

Michael Reid at Elizabeth Bay 44 Roslyn Gardens Elizabeth Bay Sydney New South Wales 2011 Australia www.michaelreid.com.au Telephone: +61 2 8353 3500

For Jane, Etta and Amina Copyright © Nathan Taylor, Emily Cloney and Michael Reid

Nathan Taylor, 2012

© Artworks, Nathan Taylor © Texts, the authors All images reproduced with permission. Nathan Taylor: the poetics of excess ISBN 978-0-9873499-0-3 Hardback All rights reserved.

Cover

This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for purposes of criticism, review or private research as allowed under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means without written permission.

Dead to the world 2010 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

Edited by Emily Cloney Designed by Keong Loh

Frontispiece Taken to heart (detail)

Photography of artworks by Simon Cuthbert,

2008

Jeremy Dillon and Peter Angus Robinson

Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm


Foreword

Sheer skill is just not enough. It is as simple

Nathan’s paintings tell a contemporary story

as that.

in two ways, often simultaneously. There is Nathan Taylor, the landscape painter. Not the

Admiration for technique can confuse skill

wide brown land for Nathan, nor the sweeping

with worth. A close inspection of a well-

plains. No, those are not his landscapes.

carved wooden sphere reveals that it is just

Nathan is a painter of the landscape of urban

that, a round bit of carved wood. The carving

Australia, documenting the overflowing bins

is skilful yet it is no more than a ball. You can

and worn pavements of suburban streets.

be left wondering where else the artisan could have taken that particular piece of wood.

Nathan’s landscapes dwell on neglected moments. They give prominence to carefully

Craftsmanship bereft of significance can be

designed objects that have been worn through

disappointing. There needs to be more to

use and then often simply discarded - a

an artwork than technique. What is truly

shopping trolley, wheels askew and broken,

mesmerising is when an artist such as Nathan

left forever haunting a far corner of Planet

Taylor, a practitioner of great ability, uses his

Parking Station. Nathan’s paintings are kind

exquisite technique to develop his subject

(and he is a kind person) and his observations

into a broader discussion of today’s world.

recognise and thereby re-include the

In Nathan’s paintings ability and content are

abandoned.

equally fascinating and it is a fascination that lasts.

Acting in concert with his recording of an urban landscape, is Nathan’s forensic noting of the detritus of our lives. His paintings are visual manuscripts detailing the fat-saturated excesses of our society right now.

ix


Preface

This book, spanning just over ten years of my

Despite being initially slightly hesitant about

stories - the wastefulness of packaging and

practice, illustrates nearly all of my completed

Michael’s idea, the end result has proved to

the causes of obesity are shown through

works since 2001. The concept of creating

be particularly gratifying. Collating all these

garish Chiko Roll and Dagwood Dog wrappers

such a thorough survey was born from a

works has revealed a valuable perspective

and supersized, bubble-top drink containers

conversation with Michael Reid about how,

towards my own practice, giving structure

drained of their all-your-sugar-intake-for-a-

usually not long after they are completed, my

to the slow progression and development of

week-in-one-go contents. In twenty years’

works sell and then disappear. This sudden

ideas. It has also offered me the opportunity

time we may find ourselves telling a child how

total absence contrasts starkly with the

to rediscover and reconnect with older works.

a cigarette was something that you lit, inhaled

concentrated weeks spent in their creation

Above all, it has enabled me to share my

its smoke and then, as the fire got close to

and fabrication. It is as rewarding as it is

perspective and visual journey through a

your fingers, stubbed out to leave a butt. At

challenging. Knowing my works are being

changing world.

some point in the future we will find ourselves

shared and enjoyed is part of the satisfaction

explaining to an incredulous audience just

of being an artist but the routine of their swift

This book shows – hopefully – only a small

how we lived our lives. Nathan’s paintings will

removal after weeks of concentrated work can

section of my work yet to be completed. I

help us to do that.

sometimes feel like a perpetual cycle.

believe that distinguishing what has already

He documents in paint today’s important

 

been accomplished, gives direction for the

So, alongside the wow factor of his skill and

next challenge.

mastery of his medium, Nathan’s paintings are Nathan Taylor, 2012

both landscapes and manuscripts. There is a great deal to the paintings of Nathan Taylor and they are very important.

Michael Reid, 2012

x

xi


Acknowledgements

I would like to thank all the writers who contributed to expanding my ideas and sharing their own interpretations and also those clients who kindly lent back artworks to be photographed for inclusion. I would like to thank the staff at Michael Reid at Elizabeth Bay who are particularly patient when it comes to very fastidious and slow working artists. A very big thank you to Michael Reid not only for all his enthusiasm and confidence for the project but also his unconditional and ongoing support in driving and promoting my practice. A special thank you to Emily Cloney, who has been at the soul of the project and without whom it would never have come to fruition. Emily’s guidance and hard work has made the entire project thoroughly rewarding. I would like to thank my parents who have always been, and continue to be, supportive towards all my artistic objectives. Finally, thank you to my partner Jane who selflessly is always there for me, offering support, but more importantly, an honest opinion. Nathan Taylor, 2012

xiii


Contents

Foreword..........................................................................vii Preface...............................................................................ix Acknowledgements.......................................................xi Introduction...................................................................... 1 Conversation with Nathan Taylor................................7 Nathan Taylor: An Overview from the Studio........ 17 Early Work 2001-2004............................................... 23 Concrete Poetics 2005............................................... 39 Melbourne Art Fair 2006........................................... 53 The Suburban Vernacular 2006-2007................... 63 Portraits: New Drawings 2007................................. 79 Culture Made Easy 2008........................................... 93 Homesick 2008-2009.............................................. 103 Dead to the World 2009 -2010............................... 115 Loved to Death 2011-2012......................................... 131 Photographs 2008-2011........................................... 143 Nathan Taylor.............................................................. 159 Plates..............................................................................167 Contributors.................................................................175


Introduction

An artist lives in the same universe as

Part of the appeal was Taylor’s ability to freeze

everybody else but sees it in a completely

time as if he had hit the pause button on an

different way. In 2001 the twenty-one-year-

incredibly detailed film of a typical day in the

old Nathan Taylor was already viewing the

suburbs. Those things we walk past without a

world around him as an inexhaustible source

second glance suddenly took on a new allure.

of wonders. A Hills Hoist, a chrome towel rail,

The reflections on a shiny metal bubbler

the top of a stove, a bubbler on a brick wall -

sparkled like the Crown Jewels. A greasy

all these things took on an unexpected lustre

frying pan on a stove top became a receptacle

when removed from their original context and

of secrets. Objects that were previously

recorded with the fastidious care that has

invisible, because so common, had magically

been a part of Taylor’s approach from the very

grown an aura.

beginning. This ability to extract wonder from the At a precociously early stage Taylor learned

everyday is one of the most fundamental

a lesson that eludes many artists throughout

aspects of art. The Russian Formalist,

their entire lives: that, in the words of

Viktor Shklovsky described it as a process

celebrated realist Gustave Flaubert, “There

of ostranenie or “making strange”1 and the

is not a particle of life that does not contain

American philosopher, Arthur C. Danto called

poetry within it.”

it “the transfiguration of the commonplace”.2

While so many artists strive for a dubious

The paradox is that no artist can ever produce

originality, jumping between styles and media,

an exact duplicate of reality. Time and entropy

Taylor recognised that one could not help but

ensure that the actual object is always

be original if one attended closely enough

changing, albeit undetectably. The most

to the data gathered by the senses. He soon

detailed and exacting pictures remind us all

found that these pictures had a powerful

the more forcibly of the impossibility of the

appeal for viewers unaccustomed to pausing

task. This may be why Taylor is not content

and scrutinising the surfaces of things with

simply to paint an object from a uniform

such intensity.

distance every time. In his imaginary video of life he frequently hits the zoom button, bringing us uncomfortably close to a soiled

1

1 Shklovsky, Viktor , ‘Art as Technique’ (1917) in David Lodge (ed.) Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader, Longman, London, 1988 2 Danto, Arthur C., The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art, Harvard U.P, Boston, 1983


towel or a dripping tap, and often adopts

mouldering wooden slats and a concrete

During his overseas excursion Taylor took

Photorealists were happy to echo the dictum

a fly’s perspective to allow us to view, for

pavement littered with debris. In With friends

photographs of the urban detritus that forms

of abstract artist, Frank Stella: “What you

example, a portable barbecue from beneath.

like these there are similar associations as

his characteristic subject matter but much

see is what you see.” Some saw their work in

Banality gives way to monumentality as a

bottles of the sickly, coloured syrups used for

of his time was spent in museums, where he

terms of perceptual problems, others aligned

domestic implement impersonates public

making Sno Kones seem to promise happiness

studied everything from the Old Masters to

themselves with the value-free

sculpture.

but are really a recipe for obesity and tooth

the American Photorealists (whose work most

representation of the world practised by the

decay.

closely resembles his own).

Pop artists.

or quasi-clichés: Be my guest, Business

This hint of subliminal moralising lies in the

Although Taylor shares the same reliance

Of the leading exponents of Photorealism –

and pleasure, Kids stay free, and so on. He

titles rather than the works themselves. Taylor

on the photographic image, Photorealism is

also known as Hyperrealism or Superrealism

interrogates each image in his mind, thinking

is at home playing the role of a suburban

a much broader category than commonly

– the sculptor Duane Hanson was almost

how it may be fitted into a wider narrative.

archaeologist depicting old, discarded

believed. For instance, Taylor may have a

unique in admitting that his work had a

The connections are oblique but not

electronic devices such as a vacuum cleaner,

similar fascination with reflections as Richard

socio-political agenda, touching on “the

implausible. A work such as Open all hours is a

a fan and a kettle. He was able to reassure

Estes but he is not a painter of sweeping

resignation, emptiness and loneliness of

tight close-up of a dripping metal tap over the

himself of the relative uniformity of consumer

architectural vistas. Much of his work may

suburban existence.”3 Hanson also took the

urinal in a pub. We imagine ourselves looking

society throughout the western world when,

be classified as still life but there is nothing

Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement

through the eyes of a customer playing the

in 2006, he secured a scholarship from the

so neat and formal as one of Ralph Goings’

as subjects.

poker machines into the small hours of the

Marten Bequest and travelled to New York,

pictures. He may use strong colours but never

morning, making repeated visits to the Gents.

Paris, London and Italy.

in such a lurid, confrontational manner as

Taylor is not so overtly political but he is

Audrey Flack.

disturbed by the ever-increasing power of

Taylor’s titles for these works are all clichés,

Or at least we might imagine such a scenario

the culture of consumption. He is alert to the

if it wasn’t for the tiny reflection of the artist

One of the direct results of that trip was a

and his camera, which serves as a signature.

series of detailed portrait drawings inspired

Unlike most Photorealists, who disavowed

way objects begin to take the place of values,

by a show of portraits by David Hockney that

the idea that their work had any deeper

with every gadget or sugary drink providing

Although Taylor’s brushwork is never less than

Taylor saw in London. He admired the intimacy

significance beyond its responsiveness to

a momentary contentment that soon fades.

immaculate there is a pervasive tawdriness

and simplicity of these pictures and set out

surfaces, it is important to Taylor that his

A characteristic work from this time is Make

to these subjects. The ground-level view of

to create his own small gallery of family and

work is meaningful. Because the Photorealist

ends meet – a virtuoso image of a clear plastic

a shopping trolley in One size fits all stands

close friends. In style these exquisite drawings

movement arose at a time when Pop

drink container lying on a mottled pavement,

in contrast to the tempting packaging and

seem to owe less to Hockney than to an artist

Art, Conceptual Art and various forms of

with traces of pink-tinged liquid still visible

presentation of goods in the supermarket.

such as Philip Pearlstein, who has a very

Abstraction were the recognised avant-

within it. In the complex play of shadows

Beyond the door of that temple of seductions

similar touch in the depiction of light and

gardes, the work was interpreted in relation

and reflections we glimpse the artist’s own

we enter a world of red-painted bricks,

shade on faces and clothing.

to each of these tendencies. Many of the

silhouette.

2

3

3 Entry on ‘Photorealism’ in Jane Turner (ed.) The Dictionary of Art, Vol. 24, Oxford U.P. Oxford, 2003, p.687.


This squalid scene has its own unlikely beauty

photographic. Put these pictures alongside

in the way Taylor has depicted the patterns

an actual photo and the differences become

on the pavement, the stains that creep across

apparent. One sees that Taylor’s paintings

its surface, and the cigarette butts in both

are montages in which details are taken from

foreground and background. There is pathos

various photos and brought together in new

in the thought of the small, fleeting pleasures

compositions. Looking at the photographs

generated by the fags and the drink, and the

one recognises the extreme sharpness of his

decorative pavement now smeared with dirt.

eye and the perhaps obsessive dimension of his work. Imagine coming across him lying on

The drink container with the rose-coloured

the ground as he focuses his camera on an ice

liquid reappears in Once in a while, from

cream cone or a bag of chips, feeling excited

Taylor’s 2008-2009 series, ‘Homesick’. This

by his fantastic discovery.

time the cup is lying on a bench, still half-full, with a straw protuding at a jaunty angle. The

Over the past two years this obsessive

title captures a sense of guilty indulgence, as if

dimension has become ever more

the purchaser of the drink is confessing to an

pronounced. Taylor’s recent pictures are

occasional urge for one of these things even

extraordinary in their detail, in the depiction

though he knows it’s unhealthy. It is tempting

of contrasting surfaces and textures. In Taken

to complete the narrative by having the

to heart the dull metal grid on the top of a

drinker feel satiated after a few sips, walking

bubbler is juxtaposed with the shiny metal

away filled with self-disgust.

of the tap, the flaking paint of its central bolt, a discarded piece of cellophane and a small

Around this time Taylor also began

green blob of chewing gum.

exhibiting his photographs which explore

4

the same territory as the paintings and act

Paintings such as Dead to the world or Serve

as vital source material. To juxtapose these

you right present an even more impressive

photographic images with their painted

collection of competing textures. The

counterparts is to become freshly conscious

repulsive spectacle of a fithy, overloaded

of the exacting standards the artist sets for

garbage bin becomes a spellbinding display of

himself. It also demonstrates the painterly

painterly technique. Such pictures show Taylor

dimension of canvases that seem almost

growing in skill and ambition, turning the most

5


Conversation with Nathan Taylor

Have you always painted?

Where do you paint?

I have always enjoyed being creative. All

I paint from a studio situated above a car

The painted objects have such a dynamic

my interests right through high school were

rental place in Hobart’s CBD in an old art deco

presence they seem not merely real, but

creatively based - art (first drawing, then

building that was once home to an ambulance

super-real. There is almost more reality than

painting), ceramics, music and drama. I

call centre. My studio is part of the home

the senses can handle: a poetics of excess

was lucky enough to have very inspiring

of a very good friend - a fellow artist who

produced with the most painstaking discipline.

teachers who both encouraged and pushed

was a very important teaching figure for me

me artistically.  There was a lot of space to

during my pre-tertiary studies. His strength

“Realism is not disinterested,” Bernard

explore ideas and support to develop them.  I

of character and unparalleled enthusiasm for

Berenson once wrote. “It has a dogma to

think this was a very important time for me

painting was instrumental in encouraging me

proclaim, a theology to defend.”4 He was

and helped to drive my passion for a career in

to pursue a career in art and he continues to

talking about the work of another era, but his

visual art.  

be an important and refreshingly objective

ordinary motifs into elaborate anatomies of waste, decay and obsolescence. These are more than brilliant but empty copies of reality.

words capture some of the feeling one takes

critic for my practice.

away from Taylor’s deadpan but savage vistas

Initially, I was drawn to painting as a technical

of a disposable society. By immortalising all

pursuit; enjoying the challenges of advancing

that is ephemeral, he creates a monument to

my ability, but it soon took on a life of its

the lowliness of our expectations, the cheap

own, becoming a strong medium through

I mainly paint from photographs. Photography

thrills of shopping and snacking. The colours

which to express my ideas. Even from early

plays an instrumental role in my practice and

may be bright but these paintings provide a

on realism proved to be a rewarding way

has basically become my drawing.

window onto a world rapidly subsiding into

of reaching a broad audience base. The

picturesque decay.

ability to communicate ideas confidently is

Each painting is born from over a hundred

still an integral part of my practice. I think

photographs in which I experiment with

that painting as a visual language has great

different aesthetics and subject matters,

substance and that realism, as a voice, has an

slowly refining each element till I find one on

honest message.

which to base a composition. Some concepts

John McDonald

Do you paint from life or from photographs?

originate from random survey shots, others are drawn from more deliberate, concentrated sessions. Compositional elements for each 4 Berenson, Bernard, Aesthetics and History in the Visual Arts, Pantheon, New York, 1948, p. 131.

6

painting are fastidiously considered but not deliberately choreographed.

7


Digital photography has enabled me to keep

In contrast, photography has a level of

an extensive visual diary, documenting years

anonymity that can empower the viewer by

of environments and objects, meticulously

allowing them to relate an image more closely

tracking the evolution of my ideas. This

to their own reality. The contrast between

process of recording and archiving my ideas

painting and photography is an interesting

has enabled me to pursue my concepts at a

way for me to present similar subject matter

concentrated level.

that can be interpreted in different ways.

You’re both a painter and a photographer:

What are your work habits like?

is there a difference between composing a painting and composing a photograph?

A typical day starts early - I’m in the studio by 7.30am and usually leave ten hours

Photography had always been secondary to

later: six days on, one day off. This labour-

my painting and was initially just a tool. It

intensive regime becomes part of my work’s

wasn’t until I started exhibiting photographs

‘performance’ - ceremonial and meditative.

that I began to use the camera differently. Conceptually, photography is the medium

My work habits have become very ritualised.

that helps me develop my core concepts and

They are structured around the organised and

painting is the vehicle I use to depict and

predetermined approach of my technique. I

share those ideas.

wouldn’t quite call the process obsessive but it’s definitely methodical and meticulous.

The viewer interprets a painting differently

This disciplined approach is integral for

to a photograph because the process of

me to ensure I meet my high level of self-

painting retains the artist’s hand through their

expectation. I’m also always trying to push

craft and the relationship built between the

my practice, tackling harder subjects in more

artist and their work. This trace of the artist

complicated compositions. By doing so I’m

is intriguing to the viewer and integral to

continually learning new ways of working:

painting.

helping to tune my ability to communicate ideas effectively.

8

9


How long does it usually take to complete

How long do you leave between finishing one

a painting and how do you know when

painting and starting the next?

you’ve painted the final stroke? Time between paintings is relatively short: just On average each work consumes between six

a few days. This is usually spent evaluating

to eight weeks of my time. The hours, days

the piece just completed and deciding on

and months invested in each piece are about

the next challenge. As each body of work

breaking down the image to its bare elements:

evolves, the time spent between paintings

understanding and valuing every facet of its

shortens and compositional decisions usually

visual composition. This results in a process

become harder. Not committing to a new

of micro-painting: deconstruction, abstracting

piece until I have completed the last means

each element and then rebuilding. The

that the body of work develops naturally

painting is finished after this ritual is complete

and sympathetically to the works already

and the image restored. The process is akin

completed.

to that of doing a jigsaw puzzle: placing in the final piece and seeing the image for the first

The act of creating, from concept to execution,

time.

becomes the extent of my relationship with the work. On completion, I feel the work

This invested relationship with each piece is

should exist for the viewer - it can now

important. My concentrated admiration for

develop a new relationship with someone

every minute detail of the most mundane

else. The ability to share my ideas and see

things, together with my studio habits and

my work find a new home is an important and

painting techniques, help me to come to

enjoyable part the creative process.

terms with the complexity and saturation of visual information in everyday life.

Self portrait II 2002 Pastel on paper 195 x 130 cm 10

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How and when do you decide on a

Did your time overseas result in any changes

Why do you prefer to draw portraits rather

work’s title?

in your painting, either while you were there

than to paint them?

or after you returned to Australia? Titling a work is one of the final steps. Some

Who are your artistic influences? Earlier on artistic influences stemmed from

There is a distinctive intimacy with figurative

social realist painters and their depictions of

works scream their titles at me; for others

My short but extensive trip overseas was

work especially portraiture. I hope to share

everyday life coupled with interpretations of

I have to tease them out. I like titles to be

very pivotal in numerous ways, but most

my connection with my subjects through my

political and social issues of their time. Later

intriguing and not too leading - making

importantly in how I saw my practice in

interpretation of their personality and visual

influences were from artists who criticised

the viewer ask more questions rather than

a broader global context. I conducted a

presence. As my painting methods became

advertising’s cultural role and how the media

providing an answer.

research project as part of a Marten Bequest

more premeditated, I started to feel that they

interpreted and influenced society. Key

Travelling Scholarship. This took me to New

might restrict the more personal qualities

influential figures include Eric Fischl, David

My work explores the language of the urban

York and various European cities. The core of

required by portraits. Drawing has immediacy

Hockney, James Rosenquist and Gerhard

environment and I use idioms and colloquial

this project was to absorb art at its source. It

and this ultimately results in a more organic

Richter. More obvious artistic influences

snippets as titles in the same fashion. Just

was an overwhelmingly humbling experience

and instinctive way of working. I have

are Ralph Goings, Richard Estes and Robert

as my paintings attempt to reinterpret the

that forced a re-evaluation my own artistic

attempted to make my drawings less laboured

Bechtle. My admiration for the original

familiar, I hope that by using common sayings

position, triggered a fresh drive of artistic

in appearance compared with my painting,

Photorealists centres round their unique

for titles I will encourage people to re-

pursuits and, ultimately, resulted in greater

emphasising the trace of my own hand.

ability to create icons from the everyday

evaluate the meaning and use of the modern

artistic maturity.

vernacular.

objects of conventional America. Through an unpretentious and celebratory vision

During my trip I also took the opportunity

they restored faith and identity in a culture

to research each environment at a domestic

addicted to capitalism.

level by completing a wide photographic survey. This process was important in

Recent artistic influences gravitate more

providing an objective perspective of our

towards photographers than painters. An

own urban landscape and gaining a greater

example of this is William Eggleston’s work.

understanding of what is unique and central

His unique aesthetic captures complexity

to the Australian aesthetic. Educating

and beauty in the mundane and produces

myself in this way has also helped me further

a very powerful, sometimes cutting, social

understand how an environment and the way

commentary. I admire how his snapshot

we treat it has influence on people and their

aesthetic captures the relentless anxiety of

culture.

the present.

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13


The critic John Russell Taylor distinguishes

All these artists continue to influence me by

between the Photorealist movement that

having great strength of technique paralleled

primarily evolved in 1960s America and today’s

with engaging and intelligent concepts.

British Exactitude painters. Do you think there is an Australian Hyperrealist movement and if so,

If you had to choose just one of your works to

which other artists would you say are part of it?

be represented in a public collection, which one would it be and why?

As Australian art continues to change, I believe general banners don’t accurately

It would probably be Dead to the world, 2010

reflect the crossovers and complexity of

[cover illustration and page 123]. This piece

current contemporary art practices. The

proved to be pivotal to the future direction of

blurred lines that stretch between these

my practice, changing the overriding themes

practices are what create such a fulfilling,

of subsequent paintings. The personal

dynamic and interactive art scene in Australia.

challenges overcome during this painting helped me to readdress my compositional

There is definitely a strong presence of

strategies and overall aesthetic tone. This

realism in contemporary Australian painting.

shift in theme has taken my work towards a

This universal language is being cleverly

more post-consumption focus, exploring how

applied to remark on current social and

discarded objects represent us socially and

political issues in Australia. However, these

mould our modern culture.

artists have very different, distinctive and contemporary interpretations of realism in their work. This variance gives strength to a personal vision with the accessibility of a comprehensible style. I believe current important contemporary realists include Juan Ford, Sam Jinks, Victoria Reichelt, Jackson Slattery and Sam Leach.

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The artist Clive Head has said of Hyperrealism,

All realists use familiar objects and

“This is not an art that raises issues but finds a

environments as compositional tools.

universal voice for a personal vision.” Do you

However each interpretation is unique and

agree and how do you see your role as an artist now and in the future? Hyperrealism definitely has a universal

Nathan Taylor: An Overview from the Studio

One of the best ways to form an overview

When I flew to Hobart recently to visit Nathan

of an artist’s life and work is to make

Taylor’s studio, I already knew his work well

a studio visit. Every artist creates their

from gallery and museum visits and from

innovative. I believe artists are now adopting

own methodology in their own unique

reproductions. But I was keen to see where it

the challenge of using realism beyond the

surroundings. When I was a young art student

was created. And how it was created. I was

parameters of exclusively prompting a re-

my favourite book in the art school library

keen to meet the artist himself.

evaluation of our environment.

was Alexander Liberman’s The Artist in His

voice and a language that is accessible

Studio1. At that time it only existed as a small,

I found the white door next to the downtown

and unpretentious, but I believe that it

I want to offer a challenge through my work

black and white publication and so the vibrant

Hobart car rental office I’d been told to look

is misleading to suggest that it lacks the

and not just a personal vision. This relies, in

colours and varied surroundings of Picasso,

out for. The old Deco building was once an

capacity to raise unique and challenging

part, on the viewer wanting to engage with the

Chagall, and Matisse were lost in a grainy

ambulance call centre but is now the house

issues that have no political or social muscle.

work at this level. As I continue to develop

fuzz of black and white. Many years later,

and studio of Wayne Brookes, Nathan’s

The technical pursuit of a realist painter is

my practice I hope to learn new and more

to my joy, they reissued it in a large format,

friend, studio landlord and former high school

the vehicle; the strength of concept is raised

confident ways of communicating my ideas.

full colour edition2 that I still enjoy opening

teacher.

at random and studying. Here is Kandinsky

through a unique interpretation of subject

in a neatly ordered room surrounded by his

We navigate our way though Wayne’s world

no longer restrict their creative direction to

wonderful abstractions. There is Fernand

of black rooms full of thousands of DVDs

documentation.

Léger standing, with the rough demeanour

and videos, of narrow corridors hung with

of a peasant farmer, in front of mural-sized

paintings of baroque interiors and lined with

canvases of female acrobats and cone-hatted

book after book on art and artists.

matter. I think contemporary hyperrealists

Nathan Taylor spoke to Emily Cloney

clowns. And Giacometti, chain-smoking while working though the night in his tiny studio. In 1985 broadcaster Melvyn Bragg made one 1 A. Liberman with a forward by James Thrall Soby, The Artist in his Studio, (Thames and Hudson, London, 1960) [a rather politically incorrect title, since Sonia Delauney, Natalie Gontcharova, and other great women artists appear amidst this mostly male pantheon]

of the most celebrated studio visits to the cramped London quarters of Francis Bacon for The South Bank Show3. The room is small and messy as if every flat surface, horizontal or vertical, is the artist’s palette. But what great

2 A. Liberman, The Artist in his Studio, (Thames and Hudson, London, rev. edn 1988)

paintings grew from this tiny space.

3 The South Bank Show, Melvyn Bragg with Francis Bacon (ITV, 9 June 1985)

16

17


And then we come to it. A small room off the

“How long,” I ask, “does each painting take to

main corridor. Plastic insulates the windows

complete?”

yet it still seems to be full of light. Jazz music is playing in the background. A two bar heater

“Usually about two months, if I work away at a

raises the temperature to a very pleasant level.

steady pace, six days a week.”

Nathan has kindly bought me a coffee and arranged his work for me to view. Some of his

I had heard that there is a waiting list of

paintings rest on easels, others are wrapped in

eighteen people wanting to buy work. This is

polythene. On one wall research photographs

not surprising if you produce between six and

have been printed to an amazingly high

eight paintings in a year.

quality from a small, commercial printer that sits beneath the window. Hanging above us

I was keen to see the tools of his trade. On

are two large drawings from one of his earlier

visits to Callum Innes’s studio in Scotland and

series. We talk about his upbringing, his time

Jon Cattapan’s in Melbourne I noticed how

at the art school in Hobart and about his

dozens of brushes of all shapes and sizes –

family. His father now makes the stretcher

some thin and squirrel-haired, others flat as a

boards that he works on. These are small in

flounder for making broad-brush statements

scale, domestically speaking, but deliberately

– hung from the walls or were laid out neatly

cinematic in their dimensions. They give us a

on tables. Nathan’s tools were much more

wide-screen view of the flotsam and jetsam of

minimal.

everyday life. He took me across to the wooden table by

18

I’ve arrived at a very busy time in his personal

the window where he paints all his works

life. His second child has just been born and

flat against its surface. “I use these,” he said,

his partner Jane broke her leg two days before

producing one tiny brush cut at a diagonal

the birth. There have been some sleep-

angle and not much bigger than might be

interrupted nights, but he is now returning to

used to apply cosmetic eye-liner. An equally

his favoured routine of ten hour days in the

small, white foam roller, no broader than a

studio.

matchbox, sat alongside it.

19


With this pair of implements and the use

There is an honesty to his work that reflects

Nathan Taylor admires the work of many

Many of these iconic works you never fully

of acrylic paint and masking tape, Nathan

his concerns for the natural and manmade

other artists, mostly through seeing their

understand until you see them “in the flesh”

recreates human vision more accurately, and

environment. Yet he is aware of dichotomies.

work in reproduction. There were, of course,

and can get a sense of their physicality

far more slowly, than a camera.

He enjoys the universality of Hyperrealism

the original Photorealists – especially Robert

and scale. This desire to “observe art at its

but insists it must be about more than just

Bechtle, Ralph Goings, and Richard Estes

source” took him overseas to America and

But technique is only one half of the equation.

documentation. Technical skills are only as

– but then also a range of Pop artists such

Europe thanks to a Marten Bequest Travelling

Balancing the final result is the all important

useful as the concepts and ideas that are

as James Rosenquist and David Hockney.

Scholarship. The results of this extensive and

“content” of the work and the way it is framed

grafted on to them.

The multi-talented and highly experimental

concentrated research trip are still feeding

Gerhard Richter was important to him, as was

into his work.

compositionally. In his conversation with Emily Cloney [pages

the figurative (but contrastingly, very loosely

Much of our conversation hinges on ideas

7-15], Taylor remarks how ‘the hours, days

figurative) Eric Fischl.

of sustainability and conservation. We

and months invested in each piece are

speak about consumerism and its careless

about breaking down the image to its bare

As he developed his own very individual

including Juan Ford, Sam Jinks, Victoria

handmaiden, waste. The photographs which

elements’. A key factor in this has been the

technique, it was the lack of pretension that

Reichelt, Jackson Slattery and Sam Leach.

he takes, and which he now selects and has

amazing advances in digital photography

he liked about the Photorealists. He admired

Collectively they are a formidable crew, I

blown up as artworks in their own right (often

which allow him to keep a huge archive of

their ability to take a culture “addicted to

reflect, as I step back out into the reality of

bigger than the paintings) capture overflowing

his visual observations over the years with as

capitalism” and make an anti-capitalist

Hobart’s CBD. They could form the core of a

rubbish bins with Styrofoam cups jutting out

many as one hundred individual photographs

statement through using the everyday objects

very exciting exhibition.

at odd angles; orange peel lying in a gutter;

informing any one painting.

of late 20th century life.

cigarette butts in an ashtray; crushed beer

“At first it was mostly about the objects that

cans; and an empty cardboard toilet roll

I was painting,” he says. “But then it became

tube still in its holder. In the background the

more about the social responsibility of the

skies are often blue, the grass is green and

people who used, and then discarded, those

manicured, and the traces of pleasure and

objects. I’m also interested in the brand

consumption are evident everywhere.

loyalties that people have. I mean, I don’t drink

At home in Australia, he has a great respect for a number of contemporary realist artists

Peter Hill

fizzy drinks myself and rarely eat chocolate or any of that stuff, but I notice how some people will only drink Pepsi and others only Coke. It becomes like a tribal thing.”

20

21


EARLY WORK 2001 - 2004


These 2001 works explore aspects of the

Following on from objects that represent

everyday. Each image reflects on iconic

our collective identity, my 2003 and 2004

symbols of the Australian suburban makeup,

work looks more closely at our domestic

exploring the clichĂŠs of our national identity.

environment and how objects dictate our

Each painting has a subtle narrative coaxed

routines. A similar narrative is consistent

though familiar symbols and objects.

through the work, but a more personalised

Aesthetically each work offers an idealised

touch is explored through a less idealised

outlook through a saturated palette and

aesthetic. A softer realism starts to creep

a nostalgic perspective. The work is

through with suggestions of wear, rust,

deliberately unchallenging and, at its surface,

erosion and grime. There is still a sense of

naively optimistic. An effortless existence

familiarity but also the revealing of a beauty

is offered through strategies similar to that

trapped within the mundane. Nostalgia

adopted by advertising. Our celebrated

is in turn replaced with narrative and the

collective identity begins to appear shallow

experience becomes more personalised.

where material possessions become iconic

Focus shifts from the subject matter’s social

and laziness rewarding.

role to what is more immediate and personally relevant. Nathan Taylor

One more swing 2001 Acrylic on board 100 x 100 cm 24

25


Queen’s birthday celebration

Victa trouble

2001

2001

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

100 x 100 cm

100 x 100 cm 26

27


Crease

Kids stay free

2002

2003

Acrylic on canvas board

Acrylic on board

45 x 35 cm

55 x 100 cm 28

29


Be my guest

Business and pleasure

2003

2003

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

50 x 100 cm 30

31


Rest assured

Home and hosed

2003

2003

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 90 cm

50 x 100 cm 32

33


This moment still

My pleasure

2004

2004

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

60 x 110 cm

50 x 100 cm 34

35


Wish you were here

Sticks and stones

2004

2004

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

60 x 110 cm

80 x 130 cm 36

37


CONCRETE POETICS 2005


The objects that clutter our urban

All these objects are part of a consumption-

environment are slowly worn down by a

based society, passively serving when

repetitious social rhythm. Their subtle

required. We remain oblivious to their

presence becomes second nature yet they

importance and to our dependence on them

are at the core of dictating social norms.

until they are taken away.

Each of these paintings looks at various social addictions or rituals. A petrol bowser

A lot of these paintings are influenced by

standing defiant after years of religious

issues addressed in the media, such as oil

use; a shopping trolley left abandoned and

ownership in Iraq, obesity, problem gambling

exhausted; a pub urinal that relentlessly drips

and an inflated real estate market.

and never sleeps. Nathan Taylor

In your best interests 2005 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm 40

41


Concrete Poetics

Nathan Taylor’s paintings seduce the viewer.

Taylor’s act of painting functions at yet

Direct quotation from life is articulated

another level of this devotional, organicising,

through an acute understanding of pictorial

entropic – and perhaps even erotic - touch.

grammar and punctuation releasing ‘music’

His works are not a direct cast or ‘death-

from mundane forms. In his seemingly ‘found’

mask’ of the objects as in a Barthes’ reading

compositions there is something akin to the

of photography. Contours are modelled

‘concrete poetry’ practised by E.E. Cummings

patiently yet are very slightly more blurred;

and Ezra Pound. Like them, Taylor lifts tired

colours and tones are translated authentically

signifiers of the domestic into a more rarefied

but subtly shifted into closer harmonies and

realm through his compositions. The rhythm

nearer relationships. Through their ‘use’ by

and rhyme of everyday objects create ballad-

the painter’s eye the objects are minimally

like structures of complex but restrained

reduced and worn-down.

emotion - or as the artist suggests - of the ‘sensual and nostalgic’. This is the first stage

One has the feeling that Taylor is drawn to a

of the romance.

certain order of urban object and he invites us to fill them through contemplation with

Secondly, this ‘melody’ of the work is also an

projected meaning. They are often literally

underlying pulse, a foot-tapping metre that

empty (or only temporarily full) awaiting our

acts as a fluid counterpoint to the rigid, dense

investment. Shopping trolleys and irons, petrol

objects depicted. Dumb, mute objects, often

pumps and syrup-dispensers – each functions,

representative of a certain age or era, radiate

in part, as a vehicle or vessel for our displaced

their significance as the building blocks of the

drives (in a Freudian sense) as well as for our

‘civilised’ world we inhabit. Yet these are not

fragile concept of society.

dusty relics in an op shop or the discarded citizens of the refuse tip but rather they have

As Taylor acknowledges, “I think that looking

been worn smooth by use, patinated by the

closer at ourselves on a domestic level helps

attentions of routine. They are pre-loved and

create a greater awareness at a universal one”.

we, as viewers, are invited to love them too.

With friends like these 2005 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm 42

43


His titles - With friends like these; One size fits all - also implicitly refer to this wider cultural spectrum but with the black-tinged humour of Ed Ruscha. However, unlike the American, there is perspicacity not pessimism in his tone. Taylor states that he is “fascinated with Australian culture and our never-ending ability to endure irony and self-criticism.” His cleareyed refusal to panic, to have faith in what is ‘real’ and of value is, in the final analysis, perhaps a timely message for us all. Kit Wise, 2005

In the first place 2005 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm 44

45


From little things

One size fits all

2005

2005

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

50 x 100 cm 46

47


Open all hours

In the long run

2005

2005

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

60 x 120 cm 48

49


At all costs

Return to sender

2005

2005

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

50 x 100 cm 50

51


MELBOURNE ART FAIR 2006


This series of paintings explores Australian

These paintings challenge the socio-political,

consumerism through discarded objects. By

commercial and personal meaning of

changing their social context they become

‘functional’ objects. Whether the objects

an iconography of society’s throwaways.

depicted are viewed as domestic and

Exploring ourselves at a domestic level

operational - dysfunctional by their context

helps us better to understand how our direct

- or discarded and estranged from their

surroundings influence and sculpt our society

domesticity, their unsettled presence compels

and reveals the elements masking our own

the viewer to re-evaluate fundamental aspects

unique Australian identity and culture base.

of our material and immaterial worlds.

Familiar subject matter creates an

Nathan Taylor

accessibility which offers an alternative perspective of our domestic environment - an environment which is so familiar yet surprisingly uncharted. Our domestic blindness is broken down to reveal an aesthetic alternative and our mundane urban surroundings become sensual and nostalgic.

Out of order 2006 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm 54

55


Next to godliness

First come, first serve

2006

2006

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

60 x 120 cm

75 x 150 cm 56

57


Leading the blind

Use only as directed

2006

2006

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

60 x 120 cm

50 x 100 cm 58

59


Come to terms 2006 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm 60


THE SUBURBAN VERNACULAR 2006 - 2007


This series of paintings surveys common

In 2006 I embarked on an overseas research

aspects of the suburban environment through

project made possible through the Marten

familiar objects. Reinterpreting suburban

Bequest Travelling Scholarship. During my

language through the commonplace helps

research trip I visited New York, Paris, Venice,

to break down our domestic blindness. As a

Florence, Rome and London to visit galleries

result an aesthetic alternative emerges. Focus

and absorb art from its source. My research

begins to shift between the object’s habitual

focused on movements that have influenced

disposition and that which is more personally

my practice, in particular Baroque and

alluring for the viewer.

Renaissance paintings, still lifes by the Dutch artists of the seventeenth and eighteenth

It is increasingly important in my work to

centuries, and the work of Photorealist artists.

study the personal relationships we maintain with our domestic objects, rituals and urban

I also used the opportunity to research each

surroundings, and how these objects help

city’s unique domestic make-up through

to sculpt our society. This series has drawn

an extensive photographic survey. These

inspiration from both local and international

photos have become a source of inspiration

sources. By examining the subtle similarities

in the compositional development for this

and differences between these environments,

series. I have juxtaposed the more subtle

I hope to focus on the core elements that

environments of the European and American

fashion each unique domestic make-up.

compositions against the more harsh and bright compositions sourced from Australia.

Ultimately I would like to share my own

This draws attention to the subtle similarities

appreciation for the beauty trapped within

and differences between our domestic

the mundane, revealing how the fabric of our

environments revealing what makes each

domestic environment subtly influences our

space unique and important.

daily routine. Nathan Taylor By appointment only 2006 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm 64

65


Suburban Vernacular

Through the eye of the gnat the world

When Taylor was in Europe the Cold War

becomes engorged; a place of gigantic artifice

returned with a vengeance. In To say the least

with gargantuan temples of obscure beliefs.

we can almost hear the ghastly crackle of

The massive site of prayer depicted in One

a broken line. Why has the phone been left

for the team exudes the sense of a sacred site

off the hook? It is an image that strangely

with the remnants of sacraments left behind

evokes both the end of the world and the

by an ancient civilization; as imposing as the

narrative of some horrendous misadventure.

Inca ruins – deserted and haunted.

In another picture initially composed in Europe, On the safe side, Taylor creates a still

To say that Nathan Taylor sees the world

life in which remarkably archaic electric plugs

from a unique perspective would be an

flank a stainless steel jug. In his European

understatement. In the opening scenes of the

pictures the mood is melancholic, one of

David Lynch film Blue Velvet, we emerge from

lonely hotel rooms and dilapidated, time-worn

the morass of teeming life beneath the surface

environments.

of a suburban lawn. The clear implication is the hidden threat beneath the everyday - that

Taylor is extraordinarily sensitive to colour.

we should learn to expect the unexpected. It

In these works we shift from the muted

is this strangeness of perspective that Taylor

tones of Europe to the surreal fluorescence

serves up; finding the codes in the arbitrary

of Manhattan through to the blazing skies of

detritus that he serves us.

the Antipodes. In each case there is a shift of palette and tone creating an atmosphere unique to each environment; the melancholy Europe, the artifice of New York, the boisterous Australia.

No love lost 2006 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm 66

67


Taylor pays homage to Gotham. One is

Whereas Taylor’s European and New

tempted to imagine that he was actually

York imagery with its muted colours is

sitting at the counter, gazing blankly at the

claustrophobic and internalized, his Australian

diningware, in Phillies Diner as depicted

images move to the wide spaces of the great

in Edward Hopper’s famous 1942 painting

outdoors – or at least the suburban version

Nighthawks. In No love lost Taylor’s detailed

thereof. The skies in One for the team and No

mis en scène captures the same strange

rest for the wicked are the blazing ultramarine

nostalgia and timelessness as Hopper’s

that can be found nowhere else in the world

painting. In a strange way Taylor has rendered

and the trees have the dusty patina that is

a portrait of the soul of a city through the

unique to Australian flora.

most utilitarian of objects; a massive sugar jar, a knife and fork, salt and pepper shakers, a

However that trend is broken in Count your

dispenser of Sweet ’n’ Low – for some reason

blessings; a painting that, despite its innocuous

it is simply and unarguably Manhattan.

content, screams threat and looming disaster as two fire extinguishers sit next to electrical

The mundane in Taylor’s work acts as a

wiring, languishing in the corner of some

metaphor for a sense of place. In Australia

basement. The bright red of their enamelled

a crushed beer can, a split cricket ball and a

surfaces, pitted and dusty, suggests the

tattered lawn chair in One for the team become

moment before sheer panic.

icons. Rendered from a gnat’s perspective they become as immense and iconic as the Pyramids. In No rest for the wicked the humble lawnmower becomes a monstrous, if battered, industrial behemoth.

To say the least 2007 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm 68

69


While Taylor brings a wonderful sense of

What is remarkable about these paintings is

humour - captured so clearly by his titles

that Taylor is largely self-taught. He emerged

- to these laboriously executed images, it

during a time when young artists were told

is impossible not to miss the fact that his

that painting was dead, no longer relevant in

world is depopulated. There is an unnatural

the postmodern world. It is intriguing that a

hush to these works – the lawnmower is left

new generation is so virulently opposed to

unattended, the lawn chair is vacant, the

that once-fashionable position. Such artists as

silence in the New York diner is palpable.

Chris Bond, Sam Leach, Juan Ford and Nathan

There is a distinct pathos and melancholy

Taylor are proving that painting is far from

to the discarded shopping trolley in By

dead. Indeed, like the phoenix rising from the

appointment only. Taylor’s objects, so everyday

ashes, painting is alive and well.

and so mundane, suddenly become symbols of a lost time, like memories or tears in the

Ashley Crawford, 2007

rain - things from the past almost forgotten.

No rest for the wicked 2007 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm 70

71


On the safe side

One for the team

2007

2007

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

60 x 120 cm 72

73


Count your blessings

Safety in numbers

2007

2007

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

50 x 100 cm 74

75


By the way 2007 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm 76


PORTRAITS: NEW DRAWINGS 2007


This series of drawings was inspired from

I responded strongly to the idea of paying

a David Hockney exhibition that I saw at

tribute to the people who have influenced

the National Portrait Gallery in London.

me both personally and artistically: family

The exhibition was devoted entirely to his

members, friends, my partner, fellow artists

portraits, spanning over fifty years: self-

and peers. Through portraiture I wanted

portraits, portraits of family, lovers, friends

to explore each of the subject’s individual

and well-known artists and socialites.

characteristics, drawing out the subtle

These works embodied an important visual

gestures which compose their person.

representation of his artistic influences and

Through this series of drawings I want to

obsessions. Each subject was an important

convey how the people who make up my

authority in Hockney’s life; his relationship to

life are endlessly influential to my artistic

the subject revealed through the intimacy of

direction.

portraiture. Nathan Taylor

David Edgar 2007 Pastel on paper 93.5 x 70.5 cm 80

81


Portraits: New drawings

The relationship between painting and

Nathan Taylor has always offered us an

drawing has its own mythological and

absolute reflection of reality. The familiar

historical tradition. As a structural foundation,

devices of everyday life are rendered with

drawing’s role was that of a map that

such virtuosity that he elevates them to the

anchored the masterpiece. The ‘mark’

status of precious objects. The alchemist in

represents the beginning of the adventure

him turns the lawnmower or the Hills Hoist

for the artist as it follows the parable of how

into a national treasure. They become ‘brick

drawing was invented. According to Pliny the

Vermeers’ with such masterful surfaces

Elder’s first century tale, a Corinthian maiden,

that enlighten us to the paradise of chrome,

wanting a memento of her lover, traced his

corrosion and coffee percolators. He is the

silhouette on the wall from his shadow.

maestro of the suburban appliance with domestic devices attaining iconic status within his scrutiny. His skill requires absolute knowledge of the object. Just as Leonardo used drawing to catalogue his world, Taylor uses it as a kind of instruction booklet to describe its essence. But while this structure is hidden from view beneath the surface of the paint, Taylor also possesses equal command of this discipline as a more expressive option.

Bill Taylor 2007 Pastel on paper 70.5 x 93.5 cm 82

Exhibited as part of the Corangamarah Art Prize 2008 83


Although Taylor’s paintings contain the

With his current drawings, Nathan has

effigies of hardware life, his drawings are the

evolved and edited his obsessive modes.

language of an alternative universe. This is

While the avid autobiography of his previous

both the world of the figure and the world of

work has morphed into a more objective

people. However, much like the fragments

rationale, his choice of material still represents

of a private Film Noir, his heavily cropped,

a satellite selection of associates within his

dramatic, tenebrist images from 1999 and

life. His gallerist, his partner, his family and

2002 revealed a more sinuous style, much like

fellow artists, are all a hovering echelon within

‘Organic Mannerism’. Yes, the objects were

his practice. But here, his previous penchant

passionately executed, but here he sought the

for theatre is denuded; clearly now he cuts

substance of the portrait from beneath the

to the chase, no longer distracted by all the

surface. The skin, the fabric, the object were

ancillary, delicious surfaces that contained or

all unified within his fluid application of the

framed the persona. He mines his subjects to

pastel.

expose what is essentially within them.

Gill Taylor 2007 Pastel on paper 70.5 x 93.5 cm 84

85


Here is a commitment to the individual, the personality and not just the authentic facade. Each character is identified within a single homogenous, if not spontaneous gesture, a fragment in time that somehow encapsulates a defining moment for that entity. The fumbling with spectacles, the sighing between sentences, the guffaw, are all indicative of the subtle nuance of their being. This, much like Pliny’s Corinthian maiden, is essentially Taylor’s own unique tracing of memory. Wayne Brookes, 2007

Wayne Brookes 2007 Pastel on paper 70.5 x 93.5 cm 86

Exhibited as part of the Tasmanian Youth Portraiture Prize 2008 and as part of the City of Hobart Art Prize 2009 87


Jane Barlow

Bree Mooney

2007

2007

Pastel on paper

Pastel on paper

70.5 x 93.5 cm

70.5 x 93.5 cm 88

89


Dale Richards 2007 Pastel on paper 93.5 x 70.5 cm 90


CULTURE MADE EASY 2008


A quick glance at elements of our suburban

This series of paintings explores the subtle

language immediately reveals how our society

decay of contemporary Australian culture

is trapped within a cycle of disposable culture,

by examining snapshots of our suburban

addicted to consumerism. As our moral and

and regional landscape. By examining the

social values become victim to this addiction

objects that dictate our social addictions

our social fabric is desensitised through a

and claustrophobic routines, I hope to raise

new modern commercial philosophy. This

questions about our cultural and historical

breakdown begins to question the direction

identity.

of Australia’s social identity and the slow corrosion of the once celebrated ‘Australian

Domestic apathy and blindness is revealed

dream’.

through uncovering the hidden desires and overlooked aesthetic perceptions of ordinary

Why are we rewarded for spending and why

objects. By shifting the conventional context

are we judged by our wealth and possessions?

of the everyday, an underlying sense of unease

The notion of value has been lost, replaced

is revealed, strangely paralleled by feelings of

with a price tag. Capitalism rewards those

nostalgia. The inanimate becomes significant

who nourish it and eliminates those who

and the anonymous, intimate.

don’t. As the conventional ‘Australian Dream’ continues to fuel its own demise, I offer an insight into the elements and behaviour that have forged this fate and help seed ideas that will aid in a sustainable future. Nathan Taylor

Close to home 2008 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm 94

95


Priced to clear

Make ends meet

2008

2008

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

Exhibited as part of the Metro Art Award 2008 96

50 x 100 cm 97


Beyond the pale

Subject to finance

2008

2008

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

50 x 100 cm 98

99


On the bright side

Bare with me

2008

2008

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

50 x 100 cm 100

101


HOMESICK 2008 - 2009


The familiar and commonplace objects

Homesickness is drawn from nostalgia, the

that populate our domestic and urban

longing for an idealised past. An object or

environments have evolved to signify our

space becomes a memory trigger, a physical

consumer-based contemporary culture.

reminder of a moment in time. These

Consequently, everyday objects take on

paintings examine this contemporary role of

iconographic significance, representing social

the object and how its projected social value

worth, wealth, personality and beliefs.

influences our feeling of security, satisfaction and purpose - elements which constitute a

This series explores objects within public and

sense of place, of being home.

private surroundings, revealing habitual or ritualistic associations. There is a collective

Nathan Taylor

sense of a banal familiarity, but also the draw of a personal narrative - each work depicting notions of intimacy and displacement.

Blessing in disguise 2008 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm 104

105


Taken to heart

Force of habit

2008

2009

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

50 x 100 cm 106

107


Learn your lesson

Never the less

2009

2009

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

50 x 100 cm 108

109


Cut your losses

Once in a while

2009

2009

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

50 x 100 cm 110

111


Good things come 2009 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm 112


DEAD TO THE WORLD 2009 - 2010


This series of paintings surveys our common

Painting provides an objective platform

urban environment, drawing out the anxiety of

for critical analysis into otherwise

the familiar and revealing the blind nature in

mundane objects and scenery, coupled

which modern society functions.

with a deliberately composed aesthetic. A subtle narrative draws on intimacy and

Today’s consumption-based rituals speak of

displacement, speaking directly to the viewer.

a culture addicted to a disposable lifestyle.

This tension then compels the viewer to

Our contemporary cultural identity has

begin questioning their preconceived social

been moulded through the saturation of

associations with the subject matter. Insight

iconic branding and popularised marketing

into seemingly innocent objects intensifies,

Individuality is substituted for fashion-based

shifting to symbolise points of cultural and

consumables.

personal scrutiny. Addressing these current social issues and capturing the decay of this corruptive cycle reveals its deepening impact on our future identity. This important new role of the object challenges our personal, social and cultural values invested within an addictive disposable routine. Nathan Taylor

Off the record 2009 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm 116

117


The Slowness of Paint

The more problems the visual world throws in

‘I’ll be your mirror,’ Nico sang to the

the path of Nathan Taylor, the more he solves

background hum of the Velvet Underground,

them and comes back to ask for more. The

but she couldn’t reflect her world as well as

crinkled cellophane from a cigarette packet?

Nathan Taylor can reflect his.

No problem, he can paint that. Would you like a row of terraced houses reflected across its

Nathan Taylor is much more than a mirror.

warped surface? A piece of green chewing

His compositions, which are framed with the

gum, screwed up like an alien brain? Here

same skills that a Hollywood cinematographer

it is, the size of a peanut. A couple making

brings to his craft, are planned in incredible

love, reflected in the hubcap of a car, or in an

detail. The French brothers Le Nain brought

overturned beer glass? Taylor paints them so

us paintings viewed from a very low horizon

small you hardly notice them noticing you.

line and Taylor has this skill too. We see a supermarket trolley viewed from the angle of a passing alley cat or a wino lying in the gutter.

Off by heart 2009 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm 118

 Exhibited as part of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship 2010 119


Elsewhere it is the things we throw away, the

England had its Kitchen Sink School, led by

things we never give a second glance to that

the great painter John Bratby, while America

this remarkable artist spends hours, days,

had the Ashcan School. Both were followed

rendering in paint. French fries are cold and

by an international movement known as

stiff, like severed legs. The cardboard bucket

Photorealism. Taylor is aware of all these, of

that holds them is crushed and the nearby

course, but places his uniquely Australian

cigarette has been stubbed out, lying at a

vision within a globalised world market. He

strange angle like a broken neck. He does a

paints local and puns global, to bowdlerise a

good line in what might be called ‘damaged

popular phrase.

umbilical cords’ – the overused rubber hose of the petrol bowser, the shower attachment suckered to the taps in the bathroom sink, the yanked-one-time-too-many payphone cord. Many of these devices don’t even have recognisable names, so little do we know them. And yet between the form and the content – think Andres Serrano’s delicious Piss Christ - and between the paint and the object painted we have an epiphany that is orchestral in its power.

Turn a blind eye 2010 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm 120

121


“I think my obsession with our immediate

Taylor is quite specific about what does and

environment came from me trying to process

does not influence him. Photographers, for

and understand all the information contained

example, are more important than painters.

within it, attempting to capture its trapped

Films are important, but not individual ones,

beauty and share it through painting,” he tells

rather certain framing devices in certain shots.

me from his studio in Hobart. “Like the plastic

“I really respond to William Eggleston’s

cup in Dead to the world. I’m so transfixed by

work,” he continues. “I think he has a very

its aesthetic qualities that I almost forget that

unique aesthetic and an amazing ability to

it’s a piece of rubbish.  It’s almost like it takes

capture the complexity and beauty in the

on a new life beyond its intended purpose.

mundane.  I think he makes a very clever

But, in contrast, the cup still speaks of a

social commentary by capturing the grain of

disposable culture and represents unhealthy

the immediate.”

recreational consumption habits and fast food.  I hope that this contrast in ideas creates an interesting tension within each piece;  something of beauty and aesthetic attraction but also ideas that tap into something a little darker, social failures and questionable cultural norms.”

Dead to the world 2010 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm 122

Exhibited as part of the Fletcher Jones Art Prize 2010 123


He does, however, praise the American

These recent paintings take Nathan Taylor’s

painters Ralph Goings and Robert Bechtle

work to a new level. Some have been seen

for the way in which they “democratised the

at the Melbourne Art Fair, others in national

ordinary”, helping the viewer to reassess their

painting prizes. The people who collect

own environment. “I like the way their style

them do so with a passion and, as a result,

deliberately went against any contemporary

understand more about the consumer society

art elitism opening their ideas to a broader

in which we live and how we see. If they look

audience base.”

closely, as they hang one of Taylor’s works on their living room walls, they may be surprised

As our conversation expands he mentions

at what is reflected – not at the speed of light

David Hockney, James Rosenquist and

but through the slowness of paint.

Gerhard Richter, as well as Australian peers Juan Ford and Wayne Brookes.

Peter Hill, 2010

Change of heart 2010 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm 124

Exhibited as part of the Redlands Westpac Art Prize 2010 125


Survival of the fittest

Run the risk

2010

2010

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

50 x 100 cm 126

127


No hard feelings 2010 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm 128


LOVED TO DEATH 2011 - 2012


This series investigates the self-destructive

More specifically these works are in direct

nature of current social behaviours and

reaction to an increasing reluctance to

habits. I believe the most compelling physical

change our routine behaviour which is

representation of our consumption-based

currently impacting on the environment. As

culture is rubbish. These works explore

these seemingly simple decisions become

a landscape of familiar branded products

politicised and distorted through the media,

discarded in public spaces. Refuse has

we become disassociated from the reality of

become a visual by-product of our mono-

the problem. Our ability to be educated is

focused aspiration towards an unsustainable

blurred through a skewed representation of

lifestyle.  It is a strong metaphor in

facts.

symbolising everything selfish, lazy and greedy about modern culture.  

I have tried to capture this tension of misunderstanding and misrepresentation by creating something negative in an aesthetic way. Nathan Taylor

Value of suffering 2011 Acrylic on board Exhibited as part of the John Fries Memorial Prize 2011

50 x 100 cm 132

133


Worried to death

Serve you right

2011

2011

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

50 x 100 cm 134

135


New-found freedom

Running on empty

2011

2012

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board

50 x 100 cm

50 x 100 cm 136

137


Loved to death

Speak of the devil

2012

2012

Acrylic on board

Acrylic on board Exhibited as part of the John Fries Memorial Prize 2012

50 x 100 cm 138

50 x 100 cm

Exhibited as part of the Geelong Contemporary Art Prize (formerly Fletcher Jones Art Prize) 2012 139


Supply and demand 2012 Acrylic on board 40 x 80 cm 140


PHOTOGRAPHS 2008-2011


The photographic image has always been

Photography has also enabled me to create

a critical launching point for all my creative

an extensive visual diary, an ongoing personal

pursuits. In the same way that my painting

archive of our environment, in which I

practice has evolved, so too has the role

document objects and spaces, and track my

and importance of the camera. As I develop

ideas. By using photography in this way I

my ideas and tune the way in which I

can fastidiously map, organise, capture and

communicate them, photography has

ultimately understand the immense amount

become a more crucial tool to help guide this

of information that daily inundates us.

progression. As my practice evolves I hope to strengthen My ongoing exploration into the photographic

my use of the camera not only for the purpose

image has helped seed its own direction,

of painting, but also in its own right. I feel

evolving naturally towards a unique artistic

photography has the potential to help me

pursuit in its own right. By canvassing similar

further rationalise and decode an ever-

subject matter through different approaches

increasing visually saturated landscape. I

I hope to offer greater access and a broader

hope that this slowly expanding body of

perspective into my ideas.

exhibited photographs works synchronous with my painting, tracing a similar path, but conversing in a different language. Nathan Taylor

Untitled i 2008 Digital print 56 x 90 cm Edition of 6 144

145


Untitled ii

Untitled iii

2008

2008

Digital print

Digital print

56 x 90 cm

56 x 90 cm Exhibited as part of the Mount Eyre Prize 2010

Edition of 6 146

Edition of 6 147


Untitled iv

Untitled v

2008

2008

Digital print

Digital print

56 x 90 cm

56 x 90 cm

Edition of 6

Edition of 6 148

149


Untitled vii Untitled vi

[I scream, you scream]

2008

2010

Digital print

Digital print

56 x 90 cm

56 x 90 cm

Edition of 6

Edition of 6 150

Exhibited as part of the CLIP Award 2010 and the Mount Eyre Prize 2011 151


Untitled viii

Untitled ix

2010

2010

Digital print

Digital print

56 x 90 cm

56 x 90 cm

Edition of 6

Edition of 6 152

153


Untitled x

Untitled xi

2010

2011

Digital print

Digital print

56 x 90 cm

56 x 90 cm

Edition of 6

Edition of 6 154

Exhibited as part of the Corangamarah Art Prize 2011 155


Untitled xii 2011 Digital print 56 x 90 cm Exhibited as part of the Corangamarah Art Prize 2011

Edition of 6 156


NATHAN TAYLOR


NATHAN TAYLOR

www.nathantaylor.com.au BORN

1979

2005

EDUCATION 2006 Bachelor of Fine Arts Dean’s Honour Roll University of Tasmania Centre for the Arts

2004 Melbourne Art Fair Represented by Despard Gallery, Hobart www.despard-gallery.com.au 2003

SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2012

Loved to Death Michael Reid at Elizabeth Bay www.michaelreid.com.au

2010 Dead to the World Michael Reid at Elizabeth Bay www.michaelreid.com.au 2009 Homesick Mossgreen Gallery, Melbourne www.mossgreen.com.au 2008 Six New Works Despard Gallery, Hobart www.despard-gallery.com.au

2007

Culture Made Easy Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts, Melbourne www.lindenarts.org Portrait: New Drawings Despard Gallery, Hobart www.despard-gallery.com.au

Love & Concrete Despard Gallery, Hobart www.despard-gallery.com.au

2000 Photographic Memory Foyer Installation Gallery, Hobart

Reminiscence Little Space Gallery, Hobart College, Hobart

GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2012

Murr-ma Halle am Wasser, Invalidenstrasse, Berlin Linden Postcard Show Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts, Melbourne

2011

Red Despard Gallery, Hobart

2010

Melbourne Art Fair Preview Show Michael Reid at Elizabeth Bay, Sydney

The Suburban Vernacular Mossgreen Gallery, Melbourne www.mossgreen.com.au

2006 Melbourne Art Fair Represented by Despard Gallery, Hobart www.despard-gallery.com.au

Recent Paintings (Concrete Poetics) Harrison Galleries (formerly Brian Moore Gallery), Sydney www.harrisongalleries.com.au

160

Kodak Salon Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne Artist Stable Group Show Mossgreen Gallery, Melbourne

2009 ArtSale@TMAG Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, Hobart

Here/Now Mossgreen Gallery, Melbourne

2008 21st Annual Summer Show Despard Gallery, Hobart 2007

Metro Art Award Benalla Regional Gallery, Benalla 20th Annual Summer Show Despard Gallery, Hobart New Gallery Launch Mossgreen Gallery, Melbourne

2000 Salsa 13th Annual Christmas Exhibition Despard Gallery, Hobart 1999

Palate to Palette Elizabeth Street, Hobart

1998

The Summer Show Entrepot Gallery, Hobart

1997

Art Rage Queen Victoria Museum, Launceston

1996

Art Rage Queen Victoria Museum, Launceston Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart

What ever I like... Despard Gallery, Hobart

2006 Summer Group Show Mossgreen Gallery, Melbourne 2005

Artist Stable Launch Mossgreen Gallery, Melbourne

Raw Long Gallery, Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart

COMMISSIONS 2011

Portrait of His Excellency The Honourable Peter Underwood AC, Governor of Tasmania, and Mrs Underwood Mural for the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council Education Centre

2004 Salon, Tasmanian Group Exhibition Peter Lane Gallery, Woollahra, NSW 2003

16th Annual Summer Show Despard Gallery, Hobart

2002

2002

A Baroque Christmas, 15th Annual Christmas Exhibition Despard Gallery, Hobart

GRANTS

Off the Rack Exhibition Despard Gallery, Hobart

2001

14th Annual Christmas Exhibition Despard Gallery, Hobart

Emerging Artist Exhibition Despard Gallery, Hobart

To be Announced ... Little Space Gallery, Hobart College, Hobart

2007

Janet Holmes à Court Artists’ Grant

2006 Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship 2003

Artist Development Grant, Arts Tasmania

Industry Development Grant, Arts Tasmania

161


SELECTED EXHIBITIONS & AWARDS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2012

2012

Finalist, Geelong Contemporary Art Prize (formerly Fletcher Jones Art Prize)

Finalist, John Fries Memorial Prize

Finalist, City of Hobart Art Prize

2011

Finalist, Corangamarah Art Prize

Finalist, John Fries Memorial Prize

Finalist, Mount Eyre Art Prize

2010

Nominated, Redlands Westpac Art Prize - Emerging Artists

Finalist, Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship

Finalist, Fletcher Jones Art Prize

Finalist, CLIP Award

Finalist, Mount Eyre Art Prize

2009 Finalist, City of Hobart Art Prize 2008 Finalist, Corangamarah Art Prize

Finalist, Metro Art Award

Finalist, Tasmanian Youth Portraiture Prize

2007

Finalist, RIPE Art & Australia/ANZ Private Bank Contemporary Art Award

2003

Finalist, Hutchins Art Prize

2002

Finalist, Metro Art Award

1997

Art Production Prize

Ian McDonald Memorial Prize

2011

‘On The Wall’, Nine to Five, Issue 1122, 22 November 2010

2008 Bittar, Nicole, ‘A2’, The Age, A2, 12 July 2008

‘What’s On’, Nine to Five, Issue 1121, 15 November 2010

Gencturk, Pinar, Moreland Community News, 10 June 2008

The Daily Telegraph, 13 November 2010

Stockman, David, ‘Art’, Moreland Leader, 9 June 2008

Reid, Michael, ‘The Art Market Monitor’, 27 October 2010

2007

Crisp, Lindall, ‘Arts’, The Financial Review, 15-16 December 2007

Selby, Clyde, ‘Gallery Watch’ in ‘Review’, The Mercury, 1 December 2007

Brookes, Wayne, ‘Portrait: New drawings by Nathan Taylor’ exhibition catalogue essay, 2007

Exhibition profile in Art Almanac, September 2007

Backhouse, Megan, ‘A2’, The Age, 22 September 2007

Backhouse, Megan, ‘Metro’, The Age, 15 August 2007

Crawford, Ashley, ‘Suburban Vernacular’, exhibition catalogue essay

Eccles, Jeremy, Australian Art Review, April-May 2012 Rauch, Helmut, Photorealism, PhD thesis on Photorealism, Kunstuniversität Linz, Austria Buchanan, Tanya, ‘Belle Reader Event’, Belle Magazine, June-July 2012 ‘Belle Reader Event’, Belle Magazine, February- March 2012 Taylor, Andrew, ‘Culture’, Sun Herald, 7 August 2011 Sargent, Anne-Marie, ‘Right Now Art’, Belle, June-July 2011 Cloney, Emily and Michael Reid, Australian Art: Who, What, When, How Much? 2011

2009 Exhibition profile in Art Almanac, September 2009

‘Inside Stories’, The Saturday Mercury. 20 June 2009

Cockington, James, Sydney Morning Herald, 25 March 2009

‘50 Most Collectable Artists’, Australian Art Collector, Issue #47, 2009

Joyce, Ella, TMAGgots, ‘The Apple’, Issue 6, Autumn 2009

‘Our Times’, Belle, April-May 2011

2010

Flynn, Paul, Artist Profile Magazine, Issue 13, 2010

2008 ‘Editor’s Choice’ in The Art Market Report, Issue 30

Cormack, Bridget, ‘Arts, Out & About’, The Australian, 3 November 2010

Small, Bethany, ‘Front Row Arts’, The Drum Media, 2 November 2010

Thow, Penny in Sunday Tasmanian, 2 November 2008

Vowles, Gill, The Mercury, 12 November 2010

Exhibition profile in Art Almanac, November 2008

Ooi, Teresa, ‘Pulse of the Nation’, The Weekend Australian, 13 November 2010

Abell, Judith, ‘TasWrap’, Australian Art Collector, Issue 46, 2008

162

Dwyer, Lynne in ‘Spectrum’, Sydney Morning Herald, 13-14 November 2010

Selby, Clyde, ‘Gallery Watch’ in ‘Review’, The Mercury, 15 November 2008

2006 ‘The Australian Art Market Report’, The Australian, Issue 20, Winter 2006 2005

‘Collector’, The Wentworth Courier, 30 November 2005

‘The Australian Art Market Report’, The Australian, Issue 18, Summer 2005

Moore, Ross, ‘Metro’, The Age, 22 August 2008

Backhouse, Megan, ‘Metro’, The Age, 26 October 2005

Crawford, Ashley, ‘A2’, The Age, 16 August 2008

Wise, Kit ‘Nathan Taylor: Concrete Poetics’, catalogue essay

‘Must See’, Artist Profile, Issue 4, 163


2004 Crisp, Lindall, ‘Arts’, The Financial Review, 7 October 2004

Murray, Laura in State of the Arts, October–December 2004

2003

‘Review’, The Saturday Mercury, 22 November 2003

Kennedy, Wendy in The Mercury, 17 November 2003

Naidoo, Meryl in The Mercury, 31 October 2003

2002

The Mercury 20th December 2002

2001

Andersch, Joerge, ‘Review’, The Saturday Mercury, 23 June 2001

Australian Art Collector, Issue 17, July–September 2001

ARTIST TALKS 2012

Belle magazine Artist Dinner [part of Art Month Sydney]

2011

Island Art Collection

2010

University of Tasmania

Hobart College

The Friends’ School

MEDIA 2009 ‘Your Money Your Call’, Sky News, profile segment with Michael Reid and David Cook 2008 936 ABC Radio Hobart, radio interview with Annie Warburton

Edge FM, radio interview with Wayne Brookes

2003

‘Love This Place’, Southern Cross Television, television segment with Wendy Kennedy

2001

936 ABC Radio Hobart, radio interview with Tim Cox His Excellency The Honourable Peter Underwood AC, Governor of Tasmania, and Mrs Underwood 2011 Pastel on paper Private commission

76 x 112 cm 164

165


PLATES


Self portrait II 2002 Pastel on paper 195 x 130 cm

Home and hosed 2003 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

One size fits all 2005 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

Use only as directed 2006 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

One more swing 2001 Acrylic on board 100 x 100 cm

This moment still 2004 Acrylic on board 60 x 110 cm

Open all hours 2005 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

Come to terms 2006 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

Queen’s birthday celebration 2001 Acrylic on board 100 x 100 cm

My pleasure 2004 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

In the long run 2005 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm

By appointment only 2006 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm

Victa trouble 2001 Acrylic on board 100 x 100 cm

Wish you were here 2004 Acrylic on board 60 x 110 cm

At all costs 2005 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

No love lost 2006 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

Crease 2002 Acrylic on canvas board 45 x 35 cm

Sticks and stones 2004 Acrylic on board 80 x 130 cm

Return to sender 2005 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

To say the least 2007 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

Kids stay free 2003 Acrylic on board 55 x 100 cm

In your best interests 2005 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm

Out of order 2006 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm

No rest for the wicked 2007 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

Be my guest 2003 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

With friends like these 2005 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm

Next to godliness 2006 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm

On the safe side 2007 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

Business and pleasure 2003 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

In the first place 2005 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm

First come, first serve 2006 Acrylic on board 75 x 150 cm

One for the team 2007 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm

Rest assured 2003 Acrylic on board 50 x 90 cm

From little things 2005 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

Leading the blind 2006 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm

Count your blessings 2007 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

168

169


Safety in numbers 2007 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

Dale Richards 2007 Pastel on paper 93.5 x 70.5 cm

Taken to heart 2008 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

Turn a blind eye 2010 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

By the way 2007 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

Close to home 2008 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

Force of habit 2009 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

David Edgar 2007 Pastel on paper 93.5 x 70.5 cm

Priced to clear 2008 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Exhibited as part of the Metro Art Award 2008

Learn your lesson 2009 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

Dead to the world 2010 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Exhibited as part of the Fletcher Jones Art Prize 2010

Bill Taylor 2007 Pastel on paper 70.5 x 93.5 cm Exhibited as part of the Corangamarah Art Prize Gill Taylor 2007 Pastel on paper 70.5 x 93.5 cm Wayne Brookes 2007 Pastel on paper 70.5 x 93.5 cm Exhibited as part of the Tasmanian Youth Portraiture Prize 2008 and as part of the City of Hobart Art Prize 2009 Jane Barlow 2007 Pastel on paper 70.5 x 93.5 cm Bree Mooney 2007 Pastel on paper 70.5 x 93.5 cm

Make ends meet 2008 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Beyond the pale 2008 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Subject to finance 2008 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm On the bright side 2008 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Bare with me 2008 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Blessing in disguise 2008 Acrylic on board 60 x 120 cm

170

Never the less 2009 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Cut your losses 2009 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Once in a while 2009 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Good things come 2009 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Off the record 2009 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Off by heart 2009 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Exhibited as part of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship 2010

Change of heart 2010 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Exhibited as part of the Redlands Westpac Art Prize 2010 Survival of the fittest 2010 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Run the risk 2010 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm No hard feelings 2010 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Value of suffering 2011 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Exhibited as part of the John Fries Memorial Prize 2011 Worried to death 2011 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm

171


Serve you right 2011 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm New-found freedom 2011 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Running on empty 2012 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Loved to death 2012 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Exhibited as part of the John Fries Memorial Prize 2012 Speak of the devil 2012 Acrylic on board 50 x 100 cm Exhibited as part of the Geelong Contemporary Art Prize (formerly Fletcher Jones Art Prize) 2012 Supply and demand 2012 Acrylic on board 40 x 80 cm Untitled i 2008 Digital print 56 x 90 cm Edition of 6

Untitled ii 2008 Digital print 56 x 90 cm Edition of 6 Exhibited as part of the Mount Eyre Prize 2010 Untitled iii 2008 Digital print 56 x 90 cm Edition of 6 Untitled iv 2008 Digital print 56 x 90 cm Edition of 6 Untitled v 2008 Digital print 56 x 90 cm Edition of 6 Untitled vi 2008 Digital print 56 x 90 cm Edition of 6 Untitled vii [I scream, you scream] 2010 Digital print 56 x 90 cm Edition of 6 Exhibited as part of the CLIP Award 2010 and the Mount Eyre Prize 2011

172

Untitled viii 2010 Digital print 56 x 90 cm Edition of 6 Untitled ix 2010 Digital print 56 x 90 cm Edition of 6 Untitled x 2010 Digital print 56 x 90 cm Edition of 6 Untitled xi 2011 Digital print 56 x 90 cm Edition of 6 Exhibited as part of the Corangamarah Art Prize 2011 Untitled xii 2011 Digital print 56 x 90 cm Edition of 6 Exhibited as part of the Corangamarah Art Prize 2011 His Excellency The Honourable Peter Underwood AC, Governor of Tasmania, and Mrs Underwood 2011 Pastel on paper 76 x 112 cm

173


CONTRIBUTORS


Dr Wayne Brookes Artist and visual arts teacher, Hobart College, Tasmanian Academy, Australia Emily Cloney Art writer and editor, co-author Australian Art: Who, What, When, How Much? (2011) Ashley Crawford Arts writer and author of Spray: The Work of Howard Arkley (1997), Wimmera: The Work of Philip Hunter (2002), Gelderland: The Work of Stephen Bush (2007), First Life (2011) Dr Peter Hill Artist and art writer, Adjunct Professor of Fine Art, RMIT University, Australia

John McDonald Art critic for the Sydney Morning Herald, author The Art of Australia Vol. 1: Exploration to Federation (2009) Michael Reid Art market commentator, art educator and art dealer, author How to Buy & Sell Art (2008), co-author Reid’s guide to Australian art galleries (2005) and Australian Art: Who, What, When, How Much? (2011) Dr Kit Wise Artist, art writer and curator.  Associate Dean of Education and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture, Monash University, Australia.

Photography of artworks Jeremy Dillon Simon Cuthbert Peter Angus Robinson

177


‘The colours may be bright but these paintings provide a window onto a world rapidly subsiding into picturesque decay.’ John McDonald, Art critic and author

‘Nathan Taylor’s paintings seduce the viewer.... He lifts tired signifiers of the domestic into a more rarefied realm through his compositions.’ Kit Wise, Senior lecturer in Fine Art, Monash University


Nathan Taylor: The Poetics of Excess, 2012