Michael John Taylor
Curriculum Vitae / Biography
Born in Sunderland, North England in 1939. Michael is one of Australias most original and inspiring artists. He is a glorious painter, superb draughtsman and stimulating teacher. His achievements are numerous. He has won every major art prize down the east coast of Australia. He trained at the prestigious Chelsea School of Art, London for five years culminating in the National Diploma of Drawing and Design award in 1962. He obtained his Art Teachers Certificate from Leeds University. Since emigrating to Australia in 1964 he taught Art at Lismore Secondary School for ten years until 1974, and in Technical Colleges and the Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education. He has dedicated his life to his two great loves, painting and teaching.
Michaels work is beautifully balanced as is his life. To live spiritually in a world that is materialistic is something Michael has achieved in his life and this is reflected in his art. As he says, in his work he achieves, "The Essence or Soul of Human Relationships and Personal values in a Spiritual sense while working in a basically materialistic world."
Michael also finds balance within the images and illusions that people have of themselves. The silhouette of a lanky girl in the wisp of a night-dress oscillating between the half-clad figure in his solemn suit is an image verging between reality and dreams. These thought provoking pictures tantalise the mind. What are the figures thinking? What will happen next? Will there be an encounter? Here is another theme unravelling an intricate web of mystery within each picture. An embrace, a kiss, a face cloistered in darkness, tokens of the past, the outstretched arm with a view to an encounter stimulate the senses of the viewer.
There is always mystery on a Michael Taylor canvas. Every work takes us on a journey of discovery like the magic carpet floating into Sapphos starry, starry night of dreams depicted in some of Michaels pictures. He is a painter of moments and mysteries, of dreams and desires, of poetry and passion. When you stare into a Michael Taylor canvas you can immediately relate to what you see. Your instant response is, "Yes, I know that feeling!" If it is possible to paint and investigate human emotions, Michael is the master.
With every image he captures and explores universal emotions of love and longing and that anticipation of things to come. We relate to the scantily clad figures staring at each other, but it is in the dark spaces between them where the mystery and tension lies.
In the works based on poet, William Blakes "Songs of Innocence and of Experience", Michael says:
"It is the distance between knowing and not knowing and the questioning as to how this concept applies to Blakes attitude towards innocence and experience. In which of these two distinct areas does innocence lie and experience exist? A literal pictorial point can be acknowledged - but it is the deeper and more illusive emotional and psychological clues which are contained or hidden within an image that produce much more significant reverberations. How can such responses be termed? What is the framework of the experience? A sequence of notes within a score, the positioning of certain words within a line, the composition of certain marks schematically arranged, all produce within a receptive audience what I believe to be a feeling of knowing."
The distances between knowing and not knowing, between innocence and experience are explored by Michael. Is the young woman as innocent as she appears or does she have an ulterior motive, or perhaps he does as he strokes her flowing hair? We identify with the feeling produced from the tension between the figures. We remember that stare, the longing, that intense flush before her lips meet his -the moment when illusion and reality collide. In this way, Michaels work is in essence sensual in the purest form of the word. His thought provoking images appeal primarily to the senses. As Michael says:
"In Eastern Countries the dancer was the medium between the earthly and the ethereal. Likewise in the West the poet, since the time when the Greeks referred to the word, "Duende" being the contact point with that which cannot be seen, but merely acknowledged through the senses and heightened awareness."
Michael John Taylor is an extraordinary artist. For over thirty years he has led the way for many artists to follow. His intellect and great capacity for understanding humanity combined with his gifted, natural talent make him a monumental figure on the Australian art scene. There is no picture quite like a Taylor. It is his uniqueness and distinctive quality that sets him apart, or rather above the rest.
SHOWS & AWARDS
Michael has had One Man Shows in Brisbane, Lismore, Armidale, Newcastle and Adelaide, and has been included in many mixed exhibitions. He has won the following awards:
Rockhampton City Council Art Prize
Stanthorpe City Council Art Prize
Toowoomba City Council Art Prize
Redcliffe City Council Art Prize
Queensland Art Gallery Trust Purchase
Gold Coast City Council Art Prize
Lismore Regional Art Prize (3 Times)
Grafton Regional Art Gallery
Murwillumbah Regional Art Gallery
Kempsey Art Prize
Gosford Prize for Drawing
Farmers Young Contemporaries, Sydney
Rotary Prize of Adelaide
Access Contemporary Art Prize
Trinity Art Prize, Lismore
Bentley Art Prize
Flinders University, South Australia
Kyogle Fairymount Festival Prize
De Gruchy Art Prize, Brisbane
Young Contemporaries, Sydney
Most of the above prizes are acquisitive and belong to the collections of those cities.
Michael has been awarded prizes from Judges such as:
Eric Westbrook, The National Gallery of Victoria
Daniel Thomas, National Gallery of Canberra
John Massey, Queensland Art Gallery
Lismore Regional Gallery Armidale Regional Gallery
Grafton Regional Gallery Cooks Hill Gallery - Newcastle
Byron Bay Greenhill Gallery - Adelaide & Perth
Red Hill Gallery Brisbane
Art Galleries Schubert
Michaels work is represented in all the above collections as well as:
Queensland Art Gallery
Southern Cross University
Lismore Regional Gallery
University of New England, Lismore
Murwillumbah Regional Art Gallery
Grafton Regional Art Gallery
Kim Bonythons Private Collection
Hertz Collection, New York
Private & Corporate Collections in Australia UK and US including The Holbrook Collection
Flinders University, S.A.
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