THE CURIOUSLY CREATIVE MAGGIE TAYLOR
Posted on May 7, 2012
If you’ve ever managed to sit through the first 5 minutes of the CBS series ‘Ghost Whisperer’, (after season 3 this became considerably harder), then you may have been lucky enough to catch the best thing about the show – the incredible opening credits. Two very common questions arise at this point. Firstly, ‘Who composed the theme song?’, well that would be the multi talented Mark Snow and secondly, ‘Which glorious otherworldly being has settled on this plane and used their divine gift to bring such incredible imagery into our tiny minds’. Well now that would be Maggie Taylor.
Taylor’s work is supernaturally special. She creates surreal still life ‘collages’ with a narrative by combining material objects, a flatbed scanner, a highly proficient use of photoshop & an extreme amount on layers. She produces her own backgrounds by either colouring worn paper with pastels, distressing a variety of metals or taking images of the sky. Combine this with a variety of objects ranging from 19th-century photographs, taxidermy specimens, & mounted insects to an old dismembered doll dug up from her own garden, and you have the formula to capture a dream within a picture. It fulfils Taylor’s aim to allow “the viewer to experience a convergence of factual memory and fictional daydream similar to my own.”
She began with a BA degree in philosophy from Yale University in 1986 and went on to get an MFA degree in photography from the University of Florida in 1987. It was not until 10 years later as a still-life photographer that she began using a computer to create the images we see today. In 1996 & 2001 she received State of Florida Individual Artist’s Fellowships while In 2004 she won the Santa Fe Center for Photography’s Project Competition. By 2005 her work was featured in Adobe Photoshop Master Class: Maggie Taylor’s Landscape of Dreams & in 2008 an illustrated version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Taylor’s images have been exhibited in one-person exhibitions throughout the U.S. and abroad and are in numerous public and private collections including The Art Museum, Princeton University, Gainesville, FL; Museum of Fine Arts and The Museum of Photography, Seoul, Korea.
I see Maggie Taylor is old world ‘painter’ rather than a new age ‘digital artist’ and I refer to her as such for a very simple reason. Despite the fact she heavily relies on technology to create these wonderful masterpieces, each image literally has its own living soul & story even though no physical brush stroke has been layed upon its canvas. When I was introduced to her work, I googled for life & was immediately overtaken by that same feeling of walking into a gallery and seeing a pre-Raphaelite painting for the first time, being taken over with history, mythology, the symbolism and a personal connection to the piece, almost as if I have lived within the painting itself.
Clearly I’m infatuated with Maggie Taylor’s work, from the process right down to the beautiful colour palette, however it is her thinking behind these choices that truly brings these haunting images to life. The concept of using everyday objects to take on a new meaning through her still-life imagery almost mirrors my design ethos; every material object is simply an archetype for something beyond what we can physically perceive. Taylor simply executes this perfectly.
Check out some more examples of her work/the artwork I plan to hang in my old dungeon keeper-esque library one day.