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J. B. TAYLOR - Artist

1917 - 1970

J.B. Taylor and the Idea of Mountains

Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff, 2012 solo exhibit


HROUGHOUT HIS CAREER, J. B. TAYLOR PAINTED Alberta landscapes but Banff, the environs of Lake O’Hara and the Rocky Mountains generally were his inspiration. Taylor’s initial influences were American landscape painters comprising the second generation of the Hudson River School. Like them, he possessed an intuitive perception of the essential elements of landscape – rock, water and sky – as they are impacted by light.

The 22-year span of his career is marked by the sublime phase in which he created luminous mountain landscapes, and the abstract phase with its edgy, textured works of rock faces, glaciers and ice fields. The first period is dominated by his use of oil and water colour; the second, by his use of acrylics and mixed media. In the early 1960s, he made a break-through from representational art to abstraction. Rather than presenting mountains in all their majesty, he captured the “idea of mountains” in a unique and very personal style.

Taylor’s mountain paintings are significant contributions to Canada’s artistic canon. Forty-one years after his death, his work deserves re-examination not only because of its subject matter and technique but also because it was an aspect Alberta’s coming of age in the context of Canadian art.

“No-one at the time, or since, has depicted the forces of water, wind and glaciation as they shaped landscape in the unimaginable stretch of geological time as Taylor did.” ADRIANA A. DAVIES, CM, PHD, GUEST CURATOR

Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

Opabin #1

J. B. Taylor, Opabin #1, 1968, Private Collection

J. B. Taylor
and the Idea of Mountains

April 7 to June 10, 2012, Main Gallery

J. B. Taylor had a long connection to Banff through the inspiration he found here and his time teaching at the Banff School of Fine Arts. In his unique style, J. B. Taylor captures the "idea of mountains" in this milestone exhibition and tribute to the Rockies.