On Thursday, July 21, the Ann Korologos Gallery on Basalt’s Midland Avenue presented a new collection of work by Carbondale artist Andy Taylor. It was the opening night and artist reception for Taylor’s solo exhibition titled “The Art of Color”, featuring landscapes painted in either oil or pastel.
Taylor, who has his studio in downtown Carbondale, has been painting scenes in the Valley for five decades, rarely going further than an hour out of town for the subjects of his landscapes. However, his scenery is not always what one would immediately consider when they think of the Valley. Instead of postcard views of Mount Sopris or the Crystal Mill, Taylor chooses “insignificant scenes” — intimate locales and subjects which one might ordinarily pass by on a drive, hike or river trip.
“The Art of Color” collection specifically gathered Taylor’s most recent body of work. Many of the included pieces are broad, expressive landscapes of oils on linen, along with smaller pieces of pastel on paper. The collection is marked by warm, expressive colors — fields of crimsons, golds and violets for groves of trees and brush. Many pieces forgo acute detail and texture for vast clouds which, with Taylor’s unique color choice, evoke not just the image but the memory of the locales he renders. Taylor was kind enough to be interviewed about his process and this new collection.
Where do you normally encounter the subjects you paint, and what is it about a scene that will tell you to document it?
I walk or drive around, I draw, I draw some more, maybe think about what I have drawn, try to decide what I think might be a good painting, what size that painting might be — and go to work. I have a large reservoir of drawings, and at this stage in my life, I have a large reservoir of memories that I can draw from for inspiration. Usually, I have an idea of where I want to go, but frequently I draw to and from whatever destination I have in mind. I will stop for anything that catches my eye — weeds on the roadside, exciting clouds, fences, color — anything.
Do the colors you choose come directly from what you see, or is there more interpretation that goes into choosing them?
I do push the saturation of the colors I see. If I see a muddy, gray violet, I might try to get rid of the muddy and gray. I see violet, why not paint it violet. Whether I work from drawings or memory, I find it important to remember why I stopped to draw or why that memory is important. Often, it was the color or combinations of colors.
Where do the pastels fall in your creative process? Do they exist as part of developing other pieces, and/or do they occupy a different niche in the body of your work?
The pastels exist on two levels: some are done with no intention of ever being paintings; others are done with the purpose of making a painting. The one thing that they have in common, like most drawings, is exploration, experimentation, discovery and invention.
Are there locales you find yourself often revisiting, and are there any favorite locales that have changed in the past several decades of your career?
I used to go places with the specific intention of drawing — Arches was one of the first places, but it got too busy. Then it was Needles, then Capitol Reef — I’d like to go back to Capitol Reef at blossom season. I take my sketchbook wherever I go, whether it is a specific trip for sketching or not. Recently, I have been drawing between here and Salt Lake City where I have to go three or four times a year.
What is it about the Valley itself you love enough to make it practically your sole subject at this point?
The Valley is where I live. It’s a nice place — climate, geography, people. I do think that wherever I might live I could find something to paint, but it would be different.
“The Art of Color” show closed July 31. The Ann Korologos Gallery, while no longer hosting Taylor’s solo exhibition, will be hosting several more exhibitions of art of the west throughout the rest of the summer, including the geometric ceramics of Michael Wisner’s “Form and Pattern” exhibition, on display until Aug. 18. To see some of Taylor’s work available for purchase online, visit www.bit.ly/AndyTaylorArt