At a distance, AJ Taylor’s paintings offer convincing glimpses of the Australian landscape. Forests, rivers and beach scenes from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and Stradbroke Island are captured in gentle sun-soaked tones. On stepping closer to these paintings, the realistic landscape disperses to reveal a cacophonous mixture of colours and abstract mark-making.
These distinctive surfaces are created through a time consuming process, in which several layers of paint are applied, then sanded back, creating a polished surface that retains a hint of each previous layer. These initial abstract layers suggest a chaotic system in nature such as the ebb and flow of currents, or the fractal shapes of branches and leaves. After being sanded back to a completely flat surface, the ground still holds the memory of all the accumulated marks. Using this foundation, Taylor resolves the final layers of the landscape with deft realism. He offers images that are at once familiar and dreamlike, shifting focus seamlessly between figuration and abstraction.
Describing his layered painting process Taylor says, “the nature of the ground – the colours, size and complexity of marks – then dictate the choice of subject, its mood and scale. In some places the ground marks happily stand in for elements of the represented image (dotted marks equal leaves, corrugated lines equal grass). Elsewhere, unlikely colours and anomalous shapes contradict visual logic, creating dynamic tension between ground and image.”