THE SHIPS OF JOHN TAYLOR - HIGH TIDE
HENRY ART GALLERY - UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
Self-taught artist John Taylor has unknowingly been linked to the sea since he was a child. His grandfather sold insurance to merchant marines. And it was after returning home and seeing a photo of his great-grandfather on the deck of a vessel during the Spanish-American war that John was immediately struck by his new obsession.
Incredibly crafted, these pieces look as if they were brought up from the sea. Living near the ocean, John's garage and yard are filled with buckets of junk; nails, computer chips, wire, copper pipe, drift wood, tacks, staples, and more. Using found objects of any nature, John works in his garage, his fearless manipulation of detritus displaying his undeniable craftsmanship. His ships look as if they have been buried or under water for half a century, but their near-disintegrated appearance conceal a well thought out methodology.
John's ships are based on actual vessels, from Civil War-era river boats to WWII battleships. John will build a vessel from an old photograph. These ships are not replicas, but interpretations. A specific aspect of an image will capture John's attention and the work will progress from there. John is interested in a certain feeling he may get from an old, tattered, painting, and will attempt to convey that feeling in his piece.
As nearly all of the vessels are based on actual ships, they become folk objects, encapsulating not only the history of the vessel, but also the history of some of the objects incorporated in the piece. Hospital ships from WWI, great riverboats that used to traffic the Hudson, civil war conversions, the histories are kept alive by these pieces.
Curated by Robin Held, High Tide: Imaging Maritime Space is John Taylorís first museum show.