A BRITISH ARTIST’S MIXED-MEDIA PAINTINGS ARE A HIGHLIGHT OF THE SUMMER EXHIBITION AT THE BLACKSMITH’S SHOP GALLERY, YORK
Recently, Cathy Ward,brutjournal’s London-based artist-correspondent, made two trips to York, a city in northern England to the northeast Leeds. First, she took in Educated Vandals, an exhibition presented in an unused office building in York’s downtown district.
Several days later, she returned to the region to see a summertime group exhibition at The Blacksmith’s Shop Gallery in Bishop Wilton, a small town near York.
See this month’s HOME PAGE for Cathy’s report describing those two exhibitions. In the presentation at The Blacksmith’s Shop Gallery, the work of the artist Sally Taylor (Instagram: @_sallytaylor__ especially caught Cathy’s attention, as did the fact that they were made using found pieces of cardboard. Here is her report about Taylor’s mixed-media creations.
When I made my recent trip to The Blacksmith’s Shop Gallery, I noted that a variety of Sally Taylor’s graphic collage-drawings in her “Block Heads” series were on display in that venue’s current, multi-artist summer exhibition. Taylor makes her abstract images by intensely working on found cardboard boxes she has disassembled, laid flat, and patchworked with various materials. On her cardboard surfaces, Taylor makes dense, deep-black graphite marks. It feels liberating to see such creative energy expressed in the artist’s crude but satisfying, simply block shapes.
I asked Sally to elaborate on how her work grew from small-scale efforts to large productions and to tell me about the attraction the cardboard surface holds for her.
She explained, “My work affirms a desire to understand more about human relationships and social interaction as intimate/public dialogues are played out on the paper — or, specifically, my own interactions with others.”
Her abstract compositions, she said, “are equally about a balance between formal concerns and the communication of emotional resonance.” When it comes to making marks on found materials, including cardboard, Taylor noted that her mark-making is carried out “in relation to the personal history of the surface” she happens to be using.
She said, “Materials like cardboard from old jigsaw-puzzle boxes are well-worn grounds with tears and imperfections, and the [art-making] process embraces the awkwardly constructed items they become. Geometric shapes become ‘blockages’ or ‘openings’; the recurring motifs of facial features [or] ‘smiling mouths’ aim to unravel social constructs surrounding the unsaid [or] non-verbal interaction.”
Taylor explained that, for her, her drawings “affirm a desire to understand more about human relationships,” especially her own interactions with other people. Her mixed-media works, she said, may evoke certain memories, fears, or anxieties, and that, in the process of making her drawings exploring such subjects, their meanings naturally emerge. The mark-making that shapes her artworks, she observed, may ultimately “challenge the validity of language in articulating aspects of human experience.”