Saturday, July 21, 2012

taylor made mark making

Ross Taylor had an amazing drawing in a group at c3 Gallery in abbotsford that i saw and loved. it was delicate, full of open space and intricate, detailed penmanship. some time later, through a series of odd coincidences, he landed in kyneton (his girlfriend at the time came to buy a Lucy James artwork) and after i showed him a photo i took of his work that i had kept in my phone (filed under 'shit-hot artists i need to contact') he agreed to put on an exhibition with us.

i love a good set of coincidental connections.

the project space is now lined with a series of fantastic drawings for his solo exhibition - Phatland.

Ross Taylor, Phatland (detail)

on the rock-like walls of the space, meticulously drawn landscapes float amid a silent white void. there's a few signs of life, appearing sporadically throughout the vast open planes. mostly, it's these wonderful little rock formations, the impact of erosion and time sculpting them into totemic formations - like ziggurats.


look a little closer and you can see the laborious effort of mark-making. miniscule little lines build up to create the elements in the landscape. there's hours of detailed, focused concentration poured into every large sheet of paper. and yet, although made from the tiniest of thin little lines and dots, vast and sweeping expanses are created and we hover, as if from a bird’s eye view above the world.

Ross Taylor, Phatland (detail) 

this could all be seen as a reflection of natural processes, where infinitesimal increments in growth and decay accrue over years, centuries and millennia. where micro processes produce macro results. in an eternal dance, biological forms create landscapes and landscapes create biological forms. It's a reminder that all life started long ago as rocks. rocks break down and dissolve, becoming sand and soil and the building blocks of biology. and then life itself liquifies, petrifies and turns back to sand, soil and rock.

Ross's work throws up all this ideas in the simple act of making marks on sheets of paper. it's quite compelling. he has a way with the composition of his pieces too, where the spaces he leaves become just as important in the work as the very carefully placed ink marks. so much effort put into the drawing and so much power emanating from the blank parts untouched.

i've heard people refer to them as post-apocalyptic. as if most life has been swept away by catastrophe and the barest elements remain. alternatively, they look like planetary maps or moonscapes. either way, they read like the potential for life. you can't help but look around for signs of it. you can't help but read into them a sense of hope. is that little rocky outcrop actually a little tower? what's being built here? who populates this place and where the hell are they?

on that last point you can't help but be reminded that it's you that populates these landscapes. it's your ideas pouring into the vastness, it's your wandering thoughts making stories about why it looks the way it looks. what a lovely gift from Ross, to provide this playground of ideas for our minds.

thanks Ross!

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come see these works in the flesh, where they do their best work. exhibition runs until 5 August.