Howard TAYLOR, Sky figure Enlarge 1 /1


Hamilton, Victoria, Australia 1918 – Perth, Australia 2001

  • Enlgand 1938-49

Sky figure 1977 Place made: Northcliffe, Western Australia, Australia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, oil on shaped plywood

Dimensions: 2140 h x 1975 w x 470 d mm
Acknowledgement: Purchased with the assistance of Village Roadshow Limited 2012 to commemorate the Centenary of Canberra
Accession No: NGA 2010.558
Image rights: © Howard H. Taylor Estate

Howard Taylor is one of the most important West Australian artists of the twentieth century. His works possess an intellectual and spiritual force inspired by the West Australian environment. Taylor was an incessant observer of nature. From 1949, when he moved to the Darling Ranges, east of Perth, his awareness of his place within the vastness of the natural world became primary source material for his work. In 1967 he moved to Northcliffe among the tall-timber karri and jarrah forests, where he produced some of his most powerful, impeccably crafted, abstract evocations of nature, including Sky figure.

This striking example of his three-dimensional wall pieces gives form to the seemingly formless subject of the sky. It is sculptural and painterly, powerful and subtle, conceptual and inspired by the natural world. The dramatic concave shape and shimmering blue colour against the white surrounds creates a sensation of being able to physically and imaginatively enter into space. Sky figure was one of Taylor’s favourite works. After it was first exhibited, he held onto this work, repeatedly returning to it for inspiration throughout his career. He kept it prominently on display in his studio until he died.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2014
From: Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2014