ONLY a handful of the works in Rachel Taylor’s new show at A Gallery were created specifically for it.
The rest are drawings the Dunedin artist has been working on over the last couple of years – a departure from her usual work in ceramics, assemblage, and oil painting.
“I’d been a little bit transient,” Taylor says. “And to fulfil my practice I’d been drawing because it’s something you can just do anywhere. There’re four larger works I did especially for the show, but the smaller ones were made to fulfil that need to create.”
The artist went through the Master of Fine Arts programme at the Otago Polytechnic School of Art during its first intake several years ago. Her fellow Masters’ graduateJay Hutchinsonopened A Gallery in late 2010, and approached Taylor for what’s her second solo show.
Over the period of their creation, the artist says she’s heavily edited and reworked the drawings included in Black Hole Verses Baby Universes.
“There were works where I’d gone right to the edges and put colour in and realised they weren’t as strong,” she says. “The more work you make the more you can stand back and compare work at different stages – if you’re working on a few at a time you can see them unfolding and can make some educated comparisons between each stage.”
However, Taylor is glad some of the works in the show were created before Hutchinson approached her. This is because the work was created in a less self-conscious manner, and free of time related pressures.
“They’re completely free flowing intuitive works,” she considers. “It’s nice to have the backing of all that technique and knowing you can do that but then also let go of all that formal structure and go ‘I’m just going to have fun and make some work’.”
Despite the compact size of some of the works in Black Hole Verses Baby Universes, Taylor says eight or nine hours of drawing time have been poured into many of them.
It was a deliberate decision to spend that amount of time on them, she explains, due to the meditative nature of the process and a desire to “spend time investigating the pen and different textures”.
Apart from the ink drawings, another interesting work in the show is a castle constructed of cotton buds, straws, and toilet rolls.
“I like making something out of nothing and trying to transcend the material,” Taylor says. “Making something that’s really beautiful and almost spiritual out of everyday objects.”