Posted 19th February 2018
The focus of this week's #ContemporaryArtMonday is Jo Taylor, an equestrian artist whose work will feature in our upcoming Watts Contemporary Exhibition, Horses in Art Reimagined (27 February - 15 April).
“[Jo] knows her subject inside out, both literally and metaphorically. The transparency of her drawings is there in the musculature that underlies the outer appearance and in the way that the piece is constructed. These are not just drawings of description, these animals are alive."
Kip Gresham, Master Printmaker and Director of The Print Studio.
Throughout Jo's work there runs a recurring theme of the ancient relationship between man, horse and the elements. Echoing the classical and renaissance masters, Jo aims to celebrate the beauty of the beast while exploring how our world has evolved through theirs.
Rigorous life drawing and patient observation are the starting points for these visually arresting works. It is through watching, drawing and riding horses that Jo Taylor captures a sense of their power and presence. These insights give Jo an understanding that translates into her paintings, which seek to expose the essence of the horse and all its sculptural dynamism.
Jo works in a variety of media on a large, unrestrictive scale and her style is deliberately abstract with a bold use of colour. Her organic palette is scoured from the immediate landscape and the elements, reminiscent of the work of Prunella Clough and Graham Sutherland.
These horses are not pretty; they identify with instinctual life and the forces of nature. The primitive connection with the natural world is something explored by Taylor through a palette driven by the land and the elements. The landscapes in which she places her horses have always been defined by the horse - they are wild lands, places where horses once roamed in herds. They are the natural habitat of the horse. Previous bodies of work have been preoccupied with influences from travels on horseback through the wilderness of Patagonia and the vast plains of Montana.
See Jo Taylor's work on display in Horses in Art Reimagined at Watts Contemporary Gallery from 27 February - 15 April.
Banner image: Jo Taylor, Irish Boys II - The Wanderer, Mixed media on paper. Thompson's Galleries.