Historical Journal

Journal Archives,Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Archives,Reviews

Hubert Taylor: New Work

January 14, 1988
Kevin J. Conallen

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"Nonetheless viewers will be rewarded by the thought-provoking mix of abstraction and representation embodied in Taylor’s new work."

January 14 through February 28, 1988
It is as both an expressionist painter and a postmodernist architect that Hubert Taylor approaches the world. His work currently on view in the Morris Gallery relies on the New York school as well as on late Gothic architecture Taylor relates his painted surfaces to those of Franz Kline, Clyfford Still, and Helen Frankenthaler. Not as grand in scale as those of his mentors, Taylor’s paintings instead convey a monumental presence through their large wooden casings and sculpturally shaped canvases. Modeled after Italianate architecture, these frames extend his expressive means beyond the painted surface. It is here that his training as an architect becomes most apparent. Taylor constructs habitats from the raw geometrics of architecture, stripping away the superficial ornamentation to reveal the simple primary structures.
Since the late seventies Taylor has focused special interest on the edge of the painted canvas. Redefining its traditional role as a terminus, he drew attention to it in two ways: by adroitly staining and painting the perimeters, and by shaping the canvas in architectural formats. As Taylor sees it, this allowed ”the image on the surface to project beyond the physical boundaries of the work.” With this new group of paintings Taylor has created a focal point within the canvas’s margins. One manifestation of this new focus is his first group of figurative works. Taylor has broadened his range and painterly vocabulary, extending his interest in form, shape, and color to the genre of figurative expressionism.
Although Taylor frequently borrows formal elements from both Christianity and pop culture, he disavows any symbolic readings of these images. The three-dimensional cross incorporated in L’Angeli di Febbraio (1987), or the whimsical reference to Aunt Jemina’s bright red head scarf in “I Did What I Could. . . ” Ms. Jemina Washington (1987), is not intended by the artist to convey content. Taylor insists that these images are non-referential, chosen only for their formal properties of color, shape, and line. Nonetheless viewers will be rewarded by the thought-provoking mix of abstraction and representation embodied in Taylor’s new work.
Kevin J. Conallen
Curatorial Intern
All works courtesy of the Artist
“I Did What I Could. . . ” Ms. Jemina Washington, 1987
Acrylic on canvas with velvet
87 x 152″
Mirror One, 1987
Acrylic on canvas with wood
117 x 53 x 8″
Mirror Two, 1987
Acrylic on canvas with wood
117 x 53 x 8″
Juan Valdez in Tuscany, 1987
Acrylic on canvas with wood
119 x 103 x 6″
L’Angeli di Febbraio, 1987
(The Angels of February)
Acrylic on canvas with wood
109 x 94 x 5″
Voices Unknown… (For James Baldwin), 1987
Acrylic on canvas with wood
109 x 94 x 5″
Sono Passati Molti Anni, 1987
(Many Years Have Passed)
Acrylic on canvas with wood
112 x 108 x 6″
Hubert C. Taylor was born in 1937, in Kilmarnock, Virginia. He graduated with honors from Hampton Institute, earning a B.S. in architecture. While at Hampton he also studied painting under John Koos. In 1959, the year of his graduation, he won first prize in the Negro Artists of America National Juried Show. Taylor is a practicing architect, presently working as Senior Designer of the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia. In addition to executing a mural commissioned by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, his paintings are included in such public collections as Atlanta University, Georgia; Hampton Institute Museum, Virginia; Madison Equities, New York; Integrated Resources, New York; and Leevy/Redcross and Co., Philadelphia.

Selected Individual Exhibitions
Etage Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA
Wallnuts Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
The Marketplace, Philadelphia, PA
Webster/Wallnuts Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Fields, Gates, Windows, Hampton Institute Museum, Hampton, VA
The Sande Webster Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
The Sande Webster Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Selected Group Exhibitions
Seventeen Small, invitational, Webster/Wallnuts Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Black Points of View, juried show, Cheltenham Arts Center, Cheltenham, PA
Recherche, The Sande Webster Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Blox Box, The Sande Webster Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Recherche/den Flexible, Charlottenborg Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark
Central Pennsylvania Festival of Art, State College, PA
Exploration in Form and Color, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA
Recherche/den Flexible, Port of History Museum, Philadelphia, PA
Abstraction, curated by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Art in City Hall, Philadelphia, PA
The Morris Gallery displays the work of outstanding contemporary artists with a connection to Philadelphia, determined by birth, schooling, or residence. The exhibitions are chosen by a committee composed of area artists, museum personnel, and collectors, and the curatorial staff of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Currently serving on the Morris Gallery Exhibition Committee are Moe Brooker, Paolo Colombo, Bill Freeland, Faith Ginsburg, Carrie Rickey, Eileen Rosenau, Judith Tannenbaum; Academy staff Judith Stein, Morris Gallery Coordinator, Frank H. Goodyear, Jr., and Linda Bantel.
Copyright, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1988
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