Hamilton, Victoria, Australia 1918 – Perth, Australia 2001
At Shannon Dam
Northcliffe, Western Australia, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on plywood
At Shannon Dam 1998 is a stunning late painting by the Western Australian artist Howard Taylor. It shows his fascination with the effects of light in nature – in this instance, the reflection of light on water. The work gives a soft, shimmering impression that challenges our own ability to perceive the actual surface of the painting. As with many of his works, this painting oscillates between a representational image and an abstracted, symbolic form exploring the structure and the nuances of light.
Shannon Dam is located in Shannon National Park, which covers the entire basin of the Shannon River (from its headwaters to the Southern Ocean). The dam, built in 1949 in this picturesque location, became a popular swimming and marron fishing place. It is located thirty kilometres north-east of Taylor’s home in Northcliffe, in the heart of the talltimber karri and jarrah forests of the south-west of Western Australia. Taylor was fascinated with the bush landscape around Northcliffe, where he produced some of his most powerful evocations of nature such as At Shannon Dam.
At Shannon Dam is one of a group of works by Taylor presented to the National Gallery of Australia by Christopher and Philip Constable in memory of Esther Constable, who was a regular visitor to the Gallery before her death in 2007. The gift commemorates both Esther Constable and her friendship with the artist.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra