Oak Bay’s John Taylor offers a peak into the progression of his career as a visual artist this month.
“I haven’t shown a lot of my personal work locally,” Taylor said. “I’ve taken a very different direction with my photography than most photographers.”
Domes of Italy, one of his most successful projects, showed years ago at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
It was renowned well beyond Victoria, with stops in Toronto, Vancouver and Rome. He researched it for a decade then spent four months in Italy creating the work.
“From the beginning of my photography career I was interested in architecture,” he said.
As a media studies and photography student at Ryerson University in Toronto he worked with historian Pierre Berton’s successful bid to save Union Station, producing the book The Open Gate in 1972.
“That launched me into ideas of looking at space and dimensions, space as a subject.” Taylor said.
Taylor’s photographic focus is architecture, with notable professional accomplishments working on assignment for the chief architect of NASA Space Centre, B.C. Attorney General’s Office and Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee. Locally, he was site photographer for projects at St. Ann’s Academy, Victoria Memorial Arena and the Blue Bridge. He spent two years working on site at St. Ann’s during restoration and exhibited his images during the official reopening.
“They wanted an artistic representation of the process, not just documentation,” Taylor said. “I like working on longer term projects like that.”
He documented deconstruction of Memorial Arena, one of those projects where the contracts may be fulfilled, but as an artist he’s not finished integrating into larger or more complex works.
“Everyone in the city has part ownership in this building. It’s removing part of our memories,” he said.
He used multiple exposures of single frames to reflect those living memories as they were eroded and demolished.
“I’ve done a lot of work with multiple exposures,” Taylor said.
Collections of Taylor’s artwork have been purchased by the National Gallery of Canada, Canada Council Art Bank and the University of Texas. He has exhibited at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Vancouver Art Gallery, Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, Hamilton Art Gallery, NY University, Washington, D.C. Project for the Arts and in London, Paris, Rome, Berlin and Tokyo. Visit johntaylorphoto.ca for a sample of his work.
His impending induction into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts spurred the John Taylor Retrospective 1975-2015 set for May 6 to June 6.
“You’re nominated by your peers who are already members,” he said. “It’s a huge honour to be accepted by this group.”
Taylor is one of 12 artists across Canada to be inducted this May. Other notable Victoria-area artists who have been awarded the RCA in recent years include: Pat Martin Bates, Carole Sabiston, Walter Dexter, Robin Hopper and Robert Amos.
This time, his own space and time will be invested in the exhibition. Taylor, who was born on the Island, and wife Vijaya Taylor moved here 25 years ago.
“We jointly started Eclectic Gallery seven years ago,” Taylor said.
Eclectic Gallery hosts the John Taylor Retrospective 1975-2015 from May 4 to June 6, with a reception May 9 from 3 to 5 p.m. at 2170 Oak Bay Ave.