ANGUS VAN ZYL TAYLOR (19705)
born in Hillbrow,Johannesburg,SouthAfrica
works in Pretoria,South Africa
1994 The!Eduardo Villa Best Sculpture Student (University of Pretoria)
1994 1st Prize P PPC Young Sculptors Award
2005 University of Pretoria, Alumni Laureate
2010 Aardklop Festival artist
Now in his fortieth year, Angus Taylor demonstrates that he is a force to be reckoned with as a sculptor. Since graduating from the University of Pretoria, Taylor has plotted a trajectory that has seen him rise to the top of his game within the local and international art scene. As a student, Taylor took over the reins of a bronze-casting foundry in Pretoria. This brought him into contact with established artists, furthered his knowledge of bronze and other metal casting processes and taught him about the rigours of running a growing business. In a short space of time, he was able, with the help of the previous owners, to establish his own foundry, Dionysus Sculpture Works (DSW). He honed his skills as a manager of people as well as his moulding and casting proficiencies until he became a master craftsman. Taylor's skill at modeling, mould-making and casting made DSW a much sought-after foundry and he casts for many well-established artists including Norman Catherine, Tienie Pritchard and the late Kevin Roberts. During the past few years, however, he has been kept so busy with commissions and exhibitions that there has been little time to cast for others, and DSW primarily works on Taylor's work. This, once again, shows his growth as a respected artist who is able to make a comfortable living for himself and the army of workers that he employs, trains and nurtures.
Taylor's ambitious nature has him tackling materials and scale that most sculptors would prefer to avoid. This has resulted in gigantic slate figures set into landscapes in various prestigious collections such as the Apple Mac headquarters in Sandton, in the Karoo and in private collections in Canada and Belgium. His 3,5m high figures called Sit en Staan were the highlight of the opening of the first Johannesburg Art Fair held at the Sandton Convention Centre in 2008, where three were sold on opening night. The majestic figure towered imposingly over the throngs of other artworks and gallery stalls, leaving visitors aghast with wonder at how he was able to transport and build such a huge piece.
His choice of materials is constantly being reappraised and, even when he chooses traditional materials like granite or bronze, they are used in a unique way, whether by imprinting texts into the surfaces of bronze or eschewing the carvability of granite in favour of its block-like potential to construct form that alludes to human form without describing it (as much stone sculpture does). Contrasted with these materials are forms made of stacked grass, compacted earth, charcoal briquettes and stacked slate. The inventiveness with which he tackles materials locates Taylor as a post-modern artist making reference to traditional crafting techniques but using them in a contemporary manner and style. It is for the multiplicity of approaches and for the uses of diverse and sometimes alternative materials that Taylor has gathered much praise and recognition.
His works can be found in many private and public collections including Sasol, Rand Merchant Bank, Pretoria Art Museum, University of Pretoria, University of the Free State, Ellerman House, Spier and Oliewenhuis Museum. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including Best Sculpture student at the University of Pretoria, first prize – PPC young Sculptors' Award and the prestigious University of Pretoria Alumni Laureate in 2005. Taylor has also been selected as the Festival Artist for the Aardklop Art Festival in 2010. Angus Taylor shows all the mettle, fortitude, ambition and mastery that he promised as an undergraduate while at the University of Pretoria under the guidance of Guy du Toit and myself as lecturers in sculpture, and he will undoubtedly grow from strength to even greater strength in years to come under the banner of the Everard Read Gallery.
(Written by Gordon Froud)