Artomatic 2009: Paul Taylor

Her Dark Satanic Mills
Paul Taylor

When I saw Paul Taylor's massive paintings at Artomatic, I immediately thought of two things: fire and Blake's etchings. So I was tickled that the title, "Her Dark Satanic Mills," refers to a poem by Blake, and that Taylor's creative process is all about fire:

The medium is essentially highly flammable furniture stripper gel - set on fire of course. They are canvas pieces mounted on Luan, covered in Polyurethane to protect the canvas. The gel is applied, somewhat in a Pollock-like manner, lit, and then the process takes on a John Cageian-like "chance operation" methodology. In easier to understand terms, this means I as the creator simultaneously become the unsuspecting viewer due to a variety of circumstances that are immediately beyond my control; primarily the thickness of gel and the degree of wind or breeze that's blowing at the moment of ignition. A slightly windier day often blows the fire onto the canvas to produce smoky brush marks. A calmer day allows the gel to burn through itself which leaves an interesting, somewhat topographical look to the substance. Usually it's combinations of both. If the outcome is successful - and one never knows if its going to be until the fire burns out - the pieces are framed in angle-iron steel that has been allowed to rust with various patinas which produce a nice leathery look to the steel.(source)

These paintings are simply luscious at night. During the day, I don't know if they'd be quite as powerful. Unfortunately, Taylor doesn't seem to have a website, so you have to go to Artomatic to check them out. . .

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Interestingly, the top panel reminds me of a medieval-era map of Europe(though without Italy).