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ANGUS TAYLOR

BIOGRAPHY

ANGUS TAYLOR
(b. 1970, Pretoria, South Africa)

“You can only write poetry in a language you know.” – Angus Taylor

When Angus Taylor went to New York in 2001, he had a revelation about what it was to be a South African. He was from a world very far from this huge eclectic metropolis where you could buy anything and everything has been named and recorded. He was from a place of bright sun and dark shadow, where the wilderness still lies just under the surface of everything and much of our history, landscape and people remains unspoken, unexplored. The disorder he lives in is a source of inspiration, and one reason why many of his works are ‘incomplete’, cracked, caught between regeneration and decay.

Partly for financial reasons, he started making work out of local stone and earth. He sources Belfast granite and red Jasper and uses the orange earth of the Witwatersand, which he binds with an alumina-based fondue cement. He has also been known to use perishable materials like thatch. Often if he makes a work in a particular location, he will use the material from that environment. His use of these materials soon became fundamental to the meaning of the work. The history of the earth – geologically and historically – speaks through the images he creates. When he uses the iron ore that comes from meteorites, or rock that comes from volcanic ash, he connects this with the meaning and content of the work. He has even been known to use ancient techniques for binding earth, using animal blood, egg and lime.

The centrality of the artist has become increasingly displaced in Taylor’s work. He likes to say he is not the source but the conduit. The artist is a craftsman who speaks through the material but who also allows the material to speak through him. The granite he uses is estimated to be three billion years old – half the age of the earth. He also often plays with scale as another way of displacing not only the artist but the viewer. His large figures reduce the adult viewer to the scale they last experienced when they themselves were toddlers. Although the scale is distorted, it remains within our human experience – even if we have almost forgotten it.

Taylor also works in his own studio and foundry, where he employs around thirty-five people. His staff work on his own sculptures but also cast works by other prominent sculptors including Rina Stutzer, Deborah Bell and Norman Catherine. His staff have been working closely alongside him and have a great deal of ‘tacit’ knowledge, which is knowledge acquired from experience, from ‘doing’. Together with his workforce, he also builds his own equipment – improvising and developing new techniques that enable him to work with his materials in new ways. He works communally with his staff, the material, the context in which he finds himself – and finds images that are bigger and more resonant than the sum of their parts.   

Angus Taylor is known in South Africa and abroad for his powerful, often large-scale interventions. These are often works of sculpture, characterized by outstanding craftsmanship. Taylor is a graduate of the University of Pretoria, which bestowed an Alumni Laureate on him in 2005.

Taylor currently teaches part-time at this university and also acted as advisor to the Tshwane University of Technology. In 1997, he founded his own undertaking, Dionysus Sculpture Works, where he casts his own and other sculptors’ work, and nurtures the talent of young and developing artists.  In addition to numerous solo and group shows, Taylor is predominantly involved in national and local government as well as private sector large-scale commissions. From this have resulted, among others, the Solomon Mahlangu statue in Mamelodi, the statue of Chief Tshwane in front of the Pretoria City Hall as well as the work commemorating Brenda Fassie in Newtown JHB.

Characteristically, Taylor currently incorporates large pieces of granite in his work, which he sources from locations such as Belfast and Rustenburg.

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS


2016     

Opening Group Exhibition, CIRCA Gallery, London, UK

2015     
Capital: Present group exhibition, Fried Contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa
Gran Cavallo Group Exhibition, World Art Day, Pretoria Arts Association, South Africa
Drawing exhibition, Fried Contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa

2014     
Jozi Site Specific, Emmarentia Dam, Johannesburg, South Africa
Nirox Winter Sculpture Fair group exhibition, Nirox sculpture park, Crafle of Humankind, South Africa
Tokara Summer Showcase group exhibition, Tokara Wine Estate, Stellenbosch, South Africa
July Showcase group exhibition, Is Art Gallery, Franschhoek, South Africa
30 x 30 met word en beeld group exhibition, Breytenback Gallery, Wellington, South Africa
Joburg Art Fair, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Cool Capital DIY Guerilla Biennale, Pretoria, South Africa
Syncopation group exhibition, Clover Aardklop Arts Festival, Potchefstroom, South Africa
From Explicit to Implicit, solo-exhibition at Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa

2013     
Heavy metal, Southern Guild Group exhibition, Woodstock foundry, Cape Town, South Africa
Hiernamaals, Group land art exhibition, Plettenburg Bay, South Africa
3 Avenue Marina, IS Art, Private Group exhibition, Franschhoek, South Africa
After the Rainbow Nation, Nirox sculpture park, cradle of Humankind, South Africa
Engage group exhibition, Pretoria art association, Pretoria, South Africa
Group exhibition, William Humphreys art gallery, Kimberly, South Africa
DSW group exhibition, Pretoria Art association, Pretoria, South Africa
Centenary exhibition, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Re-envisioning the Anglo-Boer War exhibition, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Joburg Art Fair, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
WWF auction, Everard Read gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sydney contemporary art fair, Sydney, Australia
Centenary Exhibition, Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2012     
The Rainbow Nation, Contemporary South African Sculpture, Lange Voorhout Museum Beelden aan zee, Den Haag
The Rainbow nation, Contemporary South African Sculpture, Museum Beelden aan zee, Den Haag
The Winter show, Group show, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
The Winter show, Group show, Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Joburg Art Fair, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

2011     
Bibliography of material, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa
Angus Taylor & Jacqueline Crewe-Brown, Is Art, Franschhoek
Site Specific group show, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Room mates with Paul Boulitreau, Potchefstroom and UJ art gallery, South Africa
Dislodge (loswikkel), Angus Taylor and Rina Stutzer, UJ art gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
The horse show, Nirox Foundation, Johannesburg, South Africa
Joburg Art Fair, Everard Read gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Twenty: Stellenbosch, Smac Art, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Tokara Delicatessen, Franschhoek, South Africa
Dimensions, Fried contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa

2010     
New Work, Solo Show CIRCA on Jellicoe, Johannesburg, South Africa
Re-visiting the Aardklop Exhibition, Solo Show CIRCA on Jellicoe, Johannesburg, South Africa
'Klont. Dialoog met Grond’, Aardklop, Solo Show Potchefstroom, South Africa
Twenty: South African Sculpture of the Last Two Decades, Nirox Sculpture Park, Johannesburg, South Africa
Divisions: Aspects of South African Art 1948 – 2010, Smac, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Games People Play, Fried Contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa
University of Pretoria Visual Art Staff Exhibition, Fried Contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa
Joburg Art Fair with Everard Read, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sculpture Garden, Opening exhibition, IS Art, Franschhoek, South Africa
Group show, Trent Art, Pretoria, South Africa
Artists to Save the Environment, Trent Art, Pretoria, South Africa

2009     
Great South African Nude Exhibition, Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa
Dorsiduct, 47 Market Street, George, South Africa
Joburg Art Fair with Everard Read, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa

2008     
Momentary Permanence, Solo Show, Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa
Joburg Art Fair with Everard Read, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa

2007     
The DAVID Exhibition, curated by Lisa Essers, Michelangelo Towers, Johannesburg, South Africa
Decadence, Grand Provence Gallery, Franschhoek, South Africa
Africa, Cork Street Gallery, London, UK

2006     
Deduct, Solo Show, University of Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Deduct, Grand Provence Gallery, Solo Show Francshhoek, South Africa
Deduct, Campus Gallery, Solo Show Potchefstroom, South Africa
Corpus Colossus, Godart, Solo Show Johannesburg, South Africa
Creative Creatures, Aardklop, Potchefstroom, South Africa

2005     
Corporeal, Art Space, Solo Show, Johannesburg, South Africa
Funky Functional, Gordart, Johannesburg South Africa
Porn Again, Merely Mortal, Johannesburg, South Africa
Absa Atelier national art competition exhibition, ABSA, Johannesburg, South Africa
Group exhibition, Oliewenhuis Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa

2004     
Recent work, Solo Show, Dorpstraat Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Off the record - on the record, Aardklop Art Festival, South Africa
Off the record - on the record, Gordart, Johannesburg, South Africa
DSW exhibition, Gordart @ The Thompson Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Opening exhibition, Art.co.za Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Angus Taylor & Jacqueline Crewe-Brown, Wizards Gallery, Hyde Park Corner, Johannesburg, South Africa
CowParade for CHOC, Sotherby’s and Stephan Welz auction, Johannesburg, South Africa

2003     
Barefoot, baggage free, Solo Show, Mind’s-I, Pretoria, South Africa
Barefoot, baggage free, Solo Show, Bronze Age Sculpture House, Simonstown, South Africa
Dawid’s choice, Dorpstraat Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Opening exhibition, Bronze Age Sculpture House, Simonstown, South Africa
St. Valentine’s, Mind’s-I, Pretoria, South Africa
Group exhibition, Gallery 88, Sasolburg, South Africa
Opening exhibition, Gordart @ The Thompson Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

2002     
Drawing conclusions, curated by Diane Victor, National Art Association, Pretoria, South Africa
Sasol Wax group show, WAM, Sasolburg, South Africa
A show of angels, The Open Window Contemporary Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa

2000     
Africana & other baggage, Solo Show, Gallery 88, Sasolburg, South Africa

1999     
Africana & other baggage, First Solo Show, Open Window Contemporary Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa

PUBLIC ART

2016     
Think Africa Sculpture Commission for Rand Merchant Bank (Upcoming)
Sculpture Commission for University of Johannesburg (Upcoming)
Sculpture Commission for City Property (Upcoming)

2015    
Longview,  carved Belfast Granite, Gordons Bay
Reflective Resonance, Cast bronze & Belfast Granite, Klein Dassenberg Wine Estate, Franschhoek
Belated wake (floating heads), rammed earth, cement fondu, stone, Namibia

2014     
Untitled, mixed media sculpture, Waterfall development, Midrand (upcoming)
Untitled, mixed media sculpture, Kayalami mall, Pretoria (upcoming)
Lady on a donkey, Hoërskool Waterkloof, Pretoria

2013     
Untitled, mixed media installation, Hatfield Growthpoint properties, Pretoria
Adam Kok III, Life size Bronze, Heritage project, Pretoria
Untitled, mixed media sculpture, Northcliff square, Johannesburg
Untitled, mixed media installation, Cradlestone Mall, Krugersdorp

2012     
Layers of mind and metal, Permanent mixed media installation, Newcastle Mall, Newcastle
A crossing of tangible truths, Mixed media installation, Platinum square, Rustenburg
Pixley Ka Seme, Life size bronze, Heritage project, Bloemfontein
Layers of mind, mixed media sculpture, OBZ Square, University of Cape Town
Van hier tot daar, Permanent slate installation, University of the Freestate, Bloemfontein
Layers of Being, The Rainbow Nation, Contemporary South African Sculpture, Lange Voorhout Museum Beelden aan zee, Den Haag

2011     
Grounded, Rammed Earth and Bronze cast, Eldo square, Eldoraign, Pretoria
Grounded, Ungrounded I, Bronze cast, Lynnwood Bridge, Pretoria
Grounded, Ungrounded II, Bronze cast, Lynnwood Bridge, Pretoria

2010 
    
Homage to Hermes, permanent slate installation, Apple Mac Head Quarters, Johannesburg
Homage to Hermes, permanent slate installation, Damme, Belgium.
Homage to Hermes, permanent slate installation, Whistler, Vancouver, Canada
Hier, a permanent slate installation at Ellerman House, Bantrey Bay, Cape Town
Little Mamma Africa, permanent slate installation at Attreridgeville Super Stadium in conjunction with Dionysus sculpture works
Drift, a biodegradable installation for Aardklop, Potchefstroom Botanical Gardens
The One Brother and the Dark Cloud, Cast bronze & stainless steel, Corner of Eastwood and Park street, by Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
Adrift, granite head at Waterkloof Corner Shopping Centre, Pretoria

2009     
Momentary Permanence, Belfast granite and bronze figures at Brooklyn bridge, Pretoria

2008     
Three Granite Figures, Granite, University of Pretoria
Centenary Sculptures, Granite and Bronze cast, Merensky Library walkway, University of Pretoria

2007     
Co-presence (Apollonian-Dionysian), Steel and stainless steel cast, Irene Village Mall, Centurion

COLLECTIONS

Sasol
Rand Merchant Bank
Pretoria Art Museum
University of Pretoria
Oliewenhuis Museum
University of the Freestate
Ellerman House
Saronsberg Wine Estate
The Marvelous Collection
Tokara Wine Estate
First Rand Merchant Bank

Also in many other national and international corporate collections as well as private collections