Howard Taylor1918 - 2001 Tree Fork Fragment 1997
- oil on canvas
Writing of the 1999 Annandale Galleries exhibition in which Tree Fork Fragment, 1997 was first shown, SMH critic Bruce James said of the work: "The Tree Fork Figure [SIC]... is a painting I could imagine committing a crime to possess - and of its genre the masterpiece of this exhibition - reprises the deltoid configuration of the Double Self-Portrait. It's no less than a deliberate totemic translation of Taylor's own torso into woody material - no, into woody being. Truly, I think he intends his audience to read it as his godhead.
Positioned emblematically against one of his signature fields of illimitable luminousness, the tree trunk - Is it alive? Has it been killed? - combines the planar tendency of Taylor's non-figurative images with a plumpness indexical of reality. It floats forward into three-dimensional wholeness while retarding all endeavours to liberate it into space. This sensation of simultaneous advance and retreat is, once you experience it, the invariable companion to the viewing of any Taylor..." Bruce James, Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday May 8 1999
Howard Taylor is acknowledged as one of the most significant Australian artists of the last century.
For Taylor, painting offered the means to explore the processes of visual perception that allow the eye to register an infinite range of subtlety and depth in light, colour and volume as they exist in the observable natural world.
His interest centred on a simple but compelling idea: 'that the object seen in space is a fundamental aspect of vision, and if it can be understood visually and painted convincingly on the flat surface of the canvas, one is getting to grips with the painter's vision'. Howard Taylor, quoted in Art & Australia Volume 39, no3, 2002, p. 389