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  • Artist Profile Image - Harry G. Taylor

Harry G. Taylor

Harry George Taylor was born in Detroit , Michigan in 1918. He is a printmaker known for bold design, simplicity, and clarity combined with woodcut, etching, and photo processes. He lives in Ogden, Utah.

Taylor earned his BFA and MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago where he studied under Boris Ainisfeld and Moishe Smith. Influences from Australia, New Zealand, and Africa are shown in Taylor's work. Taylor also taught at Weber State University.

Taylor's work is included in the collections of the University of Utah, the Utah Arts Council, and the Salt Lake Art Center. Greek Warrior (1993) and Middle Woodland (1988) were both exhibited in Springville Museum of Art spring salon. Bird Woman (1997) is another example of his work.

Biographical information on this page was adapted from Lila Abersold and autobiographical information Mr. Taylor provided.in the Lieutenant Governor's Invitational Exhibition Catalog, 2001.

Harry Taylor was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1918, of upper-class parents. During high school he attended Saturday art classes at the Art Institute of Detroit. In the thirties, he moved to Chicago and enrolled in the Art Institute there. However, his art studies were delayed by the advent of WW II. He spent three years of the war in the South Pacific, and the art of the native cultures there became a strong influence in his art.

After his stint in the military, Taylor returned to the United States, and with the aid of the GI bill, obtained his master's degree in 1948 from the Art Institute of Chicago. He moved to Utah in the fifties and worked as art director for Meridian Publishing Co. for 30 years. In 1985, he retired. Taylor and his wife still live in Ogden.

Taylor has incorporated many different influences from his world travels into his art, in addition to those from the time he spent in Australia and New Zealand. While social issues have always been important to Taylor, a well-developed sense of humor has also been a constant in his work.

Design is a powerful element in his woodcut prints. “Design, design, design, this is how I begin my work whether objective or nonobjective. I also like to put a little humor in my work. I am chuckling when I do some of these things. I like to pull a leg now and then.“

Taylor says his art “has continued to evolve. If I thought I was going downhill I would probably quit, but I'll leave that up to the critics. I can't worry about its merit­maybe I'm being superstitious, but I have to drive myself to create.“

Harry Taylor exhibits internationally and is especially known for his woodcuts. He is a member of the California Society of Printmakers and received the Utah Governor's Award for the arts in 1998. His work is in many public and private collections including the University of Utah, the Salt Lake Art Center, and the Utah Arts Council. Retrospective exhibitions of his work have been displayed at both the Brigham City Museum and Art Access Gallery. He was chosen as one of four Utah artists to be featured in the Lt. Governor's Invitational Exhibition at the State Capital building in September 2001.

The artist has Lou Gehrig's disease and as his illness has progressed, he has had to adapt to new ways of making his art. He says that such challenges give him a fresh outlook as he figures out ways to get around them.

The influences of aboriginal work as well as his sense of humor is evident in the woodcut Dancing Bear. Although strongly reminiscent of Australian Aboriginal work, the lightheartedness of the form is Taylor's own. His emphasis on design is particularly evident in Killer Bee: the repeated shapes of the bee hives are echoed in the breasts, the shape of the head, and the curve of the body. The entire surface of the print is activated by the texture created by the narrow gouge cuts, so that although the large bee is still, the artwork buzzes with energy. In addition, the more realistic shape of the bee as balanced against the abstract figure emphasizes the importance of the bee. The outsize proportion of the bee to the figure perhaps is pulling our leg a bit, as Taylor says he likes to do: questioning our dramatization of killer bees.

Harry Taylor offers the following information about himself as well as advice for art students:

“I enjoy working with wood. The feel and smell give me much joy. It's the first printing process. We have always had wood around and a chisel. That's all you need and you're in business.

Woodcuts are a bold medium, or should be. Keep it bold and simple. Bold shapes and color, and you can't go wrong. Take a big brush and fill the page. Then go after details. Then transfer your design to the woodblock.

Design things you know and experience every day. Don't copy photos but draw from nature. Really look at a tree. Feel the bark, smell the bark, taste the leaves. Experience all the senses. Above all, don't listen to adults. Do your thing. (Well, maybe art teachers) Keep it fun, and enjoy yourself.

I hope you find some of my work crazy, fun, far out, serious but not boring.“

Harry Taylor

Taylor has refined the specific process he uses to create woodcuts:

“With woodcuts it is common to cut a different block for each color. I thought there must be an easier way. I use one block, front and back, color on one side and key plate on the other side. I tape the paper to the printer's bench, so it is always in register. When I cut my key plate I leave a black [or other color] line between the colors. When I finish cutting the key plate, I use a heavy coat of ink and make a proof on newsprint, turn it over and burnish on the other side. Now it is in perfect register. On the color side I cut, with a u-gouge, the black lines that separate the color. Then I turn the block and print the key plate.“

Biography courtesy of the artist and Lila Abersold, ed. The Lt. Governor's Invitational Exhibition Catalog, 2001

Books

Dawdy, Doris, Artists of the American West: A Biographical Dictionary. Chicago, IL: Sage Books, 1990.

Dunbier, Lonnie Pierson, ed. The Artists Bluebook: 29,000 North American Artists. Scottsdale, AZ: AskART.com, 2003.

Falk, Peter H., Audrey M. Lewis, Georgia Kuchen, and Veronika Roessler. Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999.

Falk, Peter H. Who Was Who in American Art: Compiled from the Original Thirty-Four Volumes of American Art Annual--Who's Who in Art, Biographies of American Artists Active from 1898-1947. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1985.

Fielding Mantle, and Glenn B. Opitz, eds. Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers.Poughkeepsie, NY: Apollo, 1986.

Haseltine, James L. 100 Years of Utah Painting: Selected Works from the 1840s to the 1940's. Salt Lake City, UT: Salt Lake Arts Center, 1965.

Mallett, Daniel Trowbridge. Index of Artists, International-Biographical; Including Painters, Sculptors, Illustrators, Engravers and Etchers of the Past and the Present. New York, NY: Peregrine Smith, 1948.

Marlor, Clark S. The Society of Independent Artists: the Exhibition Record 1917-1944. Park Ridge, NJ: Noyes Press, 1984.

Opitz, Glenn B., ed. Dictionary of American Sculptors: "18th Century to the Present," Illustrated with over 200 Photographs.Poughkeepsie, NY: Apollo, 1984.

Olpin, Robert S., William C. Seifrit, and Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999.

Reinhardt, Lisa. Davenport's Art Reference & Price Guide 2001/2002. Phoenix, AZ: Gordon's Art Reference, 2000.

Newspaper Articles

"Art Attractions." The Deseret News, September 9, 2001.

"Art Canvass." The Deseret News, June 16, 2002.

"Art Canvass." The Deseret News, February 6, 1994.

"Art Canvass: Fair's Art Winners." The Deseret News, September 16, 1990.

"Art Canvass." The Deseret News, May 20, 1990.

"Art Exhibit Accessible to Disabled Opens Today." The Salt Lake Tribune, August 8, 1992.

"Art Notes: Time to Take a Gallery Stroll." The Salt Lake Tribune, March 10, 1991.

"Art Canvass." The Deseret News, October 17, 1993.

"Art Notes: Kennedy Work Brings Top Bid at Auction." The Salt Lake Tribune, April 14, 1991.

"Art show at UVSC through Oct. 26 features octogenarian artists." The Deseret News, October 12, 2000.

"'Arts of the Challenged 'Help Prove Great Art is for Everyone." The Deseret News, March 28, 1991.

"Celebrate the Holidays by Taking in the Sights at 3 Local Art Galleries." The Deseret News, December 1, 1991.

"Christmas Cards Promote Art of the Disabled." The Deseret News, October 1, 1990.

"Coming Up: Visual Art." The Salt Lake Tribune, April 14, 2002.

"Coming Up: Visual Art." The Salt Lake Tribune, September 9, 2001.

"Coming Up: Visual Art." The Salt Lake Tribune, November 12, 2000.

"Coming Up: Visual Art." The Salt Lake Tribune, October 12, 1997.

"Coming Up: Visual Arts." The Salt Lake Tribune, January 2, 1994.

"Coming Up: Visual Art." The Salt Lake Tribune, April 17, 1994.

"Eccles Art Center Awards." The Deseret News, July 29, 2001.

"Fred Taylor took his cards to war." The Salt Lake Tribune, April 24, 1994.

"Go Gallery-Hopping, Shopping." The Deseret News, December 16, 1990.

"Governor Honors Six Utah Artists and KRCL Radio." The Salt Lake Tribune, February 21, 1998.

"'Hidden Treasures' Surface at Museum." The Deseret News, March 10, 1991.

"Lighting Makes all the Difference in Enjoyment of Gallery Exhibits." The Deseret News, March 5, 1989.

"Paperwork Shows at Art Center." The Deseret News, August 4, 1991.

"Pierpont Avenue's Full of Exhibits." The Deseret News, September 17, 1989.

"Petroglyph Offers Poetry, Prose and Art." The Deseret News, April 29, 1990.

"Printmaking works at Art Center's Gallery." The Deseret News, February 23, 1989.

"Senior Show at Art Access." The Salt Lake Tribune, August 15, 1999.

"Showing at Local Galleries." The Deseret News, June 27, 2004.

"Showing at Local Galleries." The Deseret News, June 22, 2003.

"Showing at Local Galleries." The Deseret News, November 27, 2002.

"'Small Packages' Contain Lots of Beauty for Art Lovers." The Deseret News, December 6, 1992.

"Some Galleries Don't Take a Holiday From Serious Art." The Deseret News, 
28 November 1993.

"Tenacious artists erelong Leave Their Mark." The Deseret News, September 2, 1990.

"The Art Scene Refreshing Block Prints from Harry Taylor." The Salt Lake Tribune, March 17, 1991.

"Time-Consuming Prints evoke Strong Emotion." The Salt Lake Tribune, November 24, 1991.

"Utah Marquee: Visual Arts." The Salt Lake Tribune, June 17, 1994.

"Utah Marquee: Visual Arts." The Salt Lake Tribune, June 10, l994.

"Utah Marquee: Visual Arts." The Salt Lake Tribune, May 27, 1994.

"Visual Art." The Salt Lake Tribune, September 27, 1996.

"Visual Arts Calendar." The Salt Lake Tribune, June 3 1994.

""War, Illness Can't Stop Harry Taylor's Art." The Salt Lake Tribune, October 19, 1997.

"Where the Wild Art Is." The Deseret News, March 10, 2002.

Fine Arts Card File-

  • Dibble, George. columns. The Salt Lake Tribune. 1967-1984.
  • Christensen, Richard. columns. The Deseret News. 1986.
  • Olpin, Robert S., William C. Seifrit, and Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999.
  • Swanson ,Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, and William C. Seifrit. Utah Paintings and Sculpture. Salt Lake City: Gibbs Smith Publishers, 1991.

 

Fine Arts Card File-

  • Dibble, George. column. The Salt Lake Tribune - May 19, l985.

 

Miscellaneous-

 Last Modified 9/3/14