Peter Taylor is an artist living in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Taylor’s paintings focus on a single figure whose facial expressions and bodily positions exude a combination of playfulness and meditative contentment. With Divine Play, Taylor has presented his most cohesive and striking depiction of these figures to date: “these are my personal sages, Taylor explains. They represent “seeds sprouting knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. In light of his generation’s increasing tendency towards cynicism and disingenuousness, these characters are a breath of fresh air, not only encouraging contemplative reflection, but similarly eschewing cliché and taboo through the knowing humour of their expressions and unselfconscious activity.
Central to Taylor’s approach to spirituality is a self-aware ambiguity and openness—the paintings avoid heavy handedness and dogmatism in favour of the effect contained in a gesture and a glance. By depicting his figures at near-human scale, he encourages his audience to identify and interact, while recognizing at the same time the paradoxical nature of this approach: just as they approach human size, the characters defy proportion and verisimilitude by their at-times bizarre contortions and swollen features. Similarly, Taylor is aware of the appearance of naivety embodied in the expressions and gestures of his figures. But they should not be misconstrued as reflective of the artist’s naivety, nor of any perceived on the part of the audience—“these ideas are not my evasion or denial of our reality, assures Taylor. Rather, they are conduits in an exchange of ideas and impressions in a broader dialogue, encouraging us to reflect on our own fears and insecurities under the calming gazes of the host of wise sages.
Since his transition from street art to studio work in the last few years, Taylor has continued to work in large scale—since his technique with acrylic airbrush is very similar to that of spraypaint, the large scale allows him to retain many of his approaches to paint handling and layout, but to increase the level of detail to a large degree. His new works exhibit an engagement with pattern and ornament, along with subtle shading and linework, made possible by the technical precision of airbrush. Applied to the relatively simplistic and repeating character shapes, Taylor’s paintings evoke a sense of balance and complexity, contemplation and playfulness.
Current and Previous Works by Peter Taylor
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