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COLIN TAYLOR: THE NARRATIVE OF THE LANDSCAPE

For as long as he can remember, Colin Taylor has been fascinated by ‘landscape’. Why it looks the way it does, how it is managed, used and abused and in the context of his arts practice; how landscape has been used to represent personal experience within a single visual image.

Having graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in Fine Art and Drama, Colin worked for a short time as an Artist in Residence for Nottinghamshire schools and also as a part time lecturer in art history. In the mid-eighties he re-located to Manchester, got a job with The Guardian Media Group and then switched to the ‘dark side’, working for an advertising agency in regional economic development. Following a ‘road to Damascus’ moment in a Lake District cafe in the early 90’s, he set up a business in the outdoor leisure industry which still operates today. His experience of landscape had become not just that of a painter, but a composite of climber, small business owner, regional policy maker and tourist.

Looking back it now seems inevitable that the landscapes and cityscapes in his artwork would merge with the natural mountainous landscapes in which he was walking. The opportunity to turn his love of mountains into a business took Colin to some of the world’s most remote and dramatic landscapes. Although he didn’t know it at the time, this was to be the catalyst his arts practice needed and it began to re-invent itself.

Colin has come to believe that it is possible to paint ‘about’ a place but impossible to actually paint what you see in a moment. When time, light, mass and space are ever changing, is it possible to transfer the experience of a 20,000 ft mountain to a canvas?  His drawings and paintings are executed rapidly relying on instinct and Colin’s own experience of the subject. The narrative is still there, except that the landscape itself, has moved centre stage. “For me, art is about wanting to record what I see and do, and the various different places and environments that I experience. I can’t find the words to write about them, but moving paint around on a canvas seems to make sense. It’s a compulsion. That doesn’t just mean ‘landscapes’ and the natural environment – incredible though it is – it could easily be in a town or city. I guess it’s a form of visual autobiography.

Landscape, in the widest sense of the word, continues to underpin his work and is informed by … ‘a collective philosophical, physiological, technological, environmental and economic terrain that shifted ground massively through the twentieth century, and which is now unrecognisable from when Cezanne first suggested that emotion or sensation might have a role to play in creative output’.

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