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Michael Taylor: large scale / small edition

From the signature strokes of Michael Taylor’s pencil, comes a very special Special Project indeed: “The Onlookers” – a gorgeous, massive, two-colour screen print edition of just five prints.

This 50ty/50ty artwork has its origins in the pages of Taylor’s sketchbook, as an A5 pencil drawing. We were keen to see how well a small pencil drawing would translate into a really large-scale artwork. The answer, we’re pleased to announce, is PERFECTLY.

As you might know from our Meet-in-the-making project, we love delving into artists’ sketchbooks to conceive new collaborations. A sketchbook invites intimate engagement with the artist’s creative process and offers an immediacy of expression seldom seen in other mediums. Taylor’s sketchbook is a particular treasure trove, which is no surprise when you learn of his relationship with drawing: “I am someone who draws, I’m a draughtsperson … I trust drawing,” he says, explaining his approach to the discipline as “… not something overly precious, and certainly not reserved. I’m very interested in finding out what the drawings want for themselves …”

Michael Taylor (born 1979) is known for his ironic and self-reflexive paintings and drawings that explore themes of masculinity, selfhood and personal/cultural mythologies. His interpretations are located within the larger context of narrative art; indeed, Taylor’s work is immersed in multi-faceted narrative. Image–text paradigms or, in the artist’s words, “the subtleties between visual thoughts and language” are examined and teased out in the play between subject and title, and even the creative process itself – from concept through execution – performs its own kind of narrative, as Taylor draws parallels between abstraction and illustration. As such, his astute draughtsmanship is far more expansive than purely naturalistic observation: intuition, imagination and memory play pivotal roles in his multi-storied works – as do the disarming doses of humour and ridicule.

Since obtaining his master’s degree with distinction in 2006, Taylor has enjoyed a number of accolades: he has exhibited in solo and group shows in South Africa, Australia, The Netherlands, UK and USA; he was shortlisted in the Thames & Hudson’s 100 Young Painters of Tomorrow(2013); and his work is held in numerous private collections globally, including the Woodner Collection (USA).

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