A.J. Taylor’s HAWKESBURY exhibition at the Martin Browne Contemporary art gallery in Sydney bought a grown woman, namely me, to tears. Not since Author Boyd’s Shoalhaven landscape series have I encountered another artist who uses impressionist renderings of an Australian landscape, namely the banks of the Hawkesbury River, with such mastery.
A.J. Taylor’s love of the Impressionist school shows in his ‘broken surface’ technique, where a whole lot of little marks, underlying layers of colours, add up to an overall image. Viewing the paintings from a distance the landscapes look almost photographic in nature, yet on closer inspection, each leaf, sandstone formation, splash of sky and drop of water are made up of a multitude of abstract shapes each placed perfectly on the canvas.
Taylor’s HAWKESBURY series captures the effects of sunlight – the setting western sun on the landscape, the hint of shade on trees and rocks. A.J. Taylor doesn’t use the traditional composing “rule of thirds” technique – there is really no need to when you are a master in your chosen field.
His painting style is to apply paint on each canvas in separate sessions, usually over a two week cycle; which means that each landscape in this series is slowly built up through the application of successive layers of paint. When each landscape finds the right balance between figurative and abstract Taylor knows the painting is complete.
A.J. Taylor was a finalist in the prestigious Wynne Prize a few years ago and if I was a betting woman I would predict he will soon be a winner and gain his rightful place in the history of Australian and international art.
Showing at the Martin Browne Contemporary till 2 March 2014