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ROD TAYLOR'S EXHIBITIONS EXHIBITION REVIEWS

1963 - Central Library, Manchester, One Person Show of public wash-houses

1968 - Peterloo Gallery (Brown st.), Manchester, "Variation on a Window''

Merete Bates review, Guardian, December 1968:

Rod Taylor has "a truly original eye-for compositional values''. She writes:

"The idea grew out of an exercise I set the class: to draw the view they saw from the window." Roderick Taylor, whose exhibition of drawings and paintings "Variation on a window" is at Petered Gallery, Manchester until Deœmber 24, is head of art at Harpurhey High School. The view is of the desolate hinterland of old Manchester. A weary, hackneyed subject in itself that Taylor manages to revive by concentrating on pictorial rather than picturesque considerations.

The most sensitive and successful studies are pencil and ink drawings or watercolours. "the windows l use to bring the eye back to the picture surface. l don't like my compositions to go on and on into space." But these are more than just windows. They may be traced with black lace, shredded with net or grimed with smoke, runnelled with rain. Tne glass may be frosted or reeded, leaded, or cracked with with the view bright and clean through the hole. "l've become quite expert at cracking glass the way I want it. Quite therapeutic it is." The holes change into chance birds, flowers or what you will, all delicately recorded with the finest shading of pencil wash or colour.

"And I've quite a collection of windows." It's a good job the houses are already condemned. Taylor uses the frames, complete with cracked glass, faded paint, and view drawn behind, to make reliefs. "I was just to late to acquire a stained glass one from a church that was being demolished in Eccles.'' But even if he hasn't any harmonies in glass, he has symphonies in bedsprings. I never realised how beautiful an old bedspring could look convoluting round a setting sun...

In his December 1968 review in The Daily Telegraph, F.W.Fenton writes:

Taylor, at Peterloo until Dec. 24, is in many ways an heir to much of the earlier work at the Tib Lane Gallery. He is a bold but not thrustful designer who paints also with great compassion.

He has, for instance, used parts of a window, with broken panes, to touch the observer's heart with views of drab and demolished houses. Net curtains, painted or actual, are used to "frame" similar views. Painted springs and spirals give a fresh dimension to other aspects of older Manchester.

None of these, though, has quite the quality of "Dying Landscape" or the underlying power of Taylor's drawings.

|975 - Peterloo Gallery, Manchester, "Voyagers in a Landscape"

Guardin review by Stephen Dixon, January 1977:

Rod Taylor successfully captures that moment of unreality. of fleeting but total dlsorientation as one glimpses a vast liner, ponderous as a behemoths, slide inexorably along a ship canal through the static gates and factories and houses of a semi-industrial urban landscape.

The paintings and drawings are all based on a short stretch of the Manchester Shlp Canal that passes through Warrington. He explores the initial incongruity of liners moving through the inland landscape, then elaborates on the theme by depicting a landscape whose features are determined by the canal - the bridges
and tollgates and railings.

Taylor has chosen mroons and lilacs and ruddy greys for his bndges, and these colours give a warmth to the paintings that mercifully never descend into sentimentality. In various works he introduces conflicting elements: rainbows, shadows made fluid by the presence of a trudging human figure. In the painting I laked best, Manchester Challenge at Runcorn, all these elements fuse perfectly - the Water, the metal, the sky, the almost disquieting sense of movement. And the painting itself is ship-shaped.

In Barrier, the liner peeps from its camouflage of bushes and trees and houses; in Manchester Courage filling the Canal, it is seen from above. Thematic work like this can often be dull; the chosen facets of a partlcular subject have to have a special meaning lf they are to recur in different forms ln every work. Rod Taylor's work is far from dull.

1978 - Lantern Gallery, Worsley, Paintings and Drawings

1979 - Lantern Gallery, Worsley, Paintings and Drawings

In a Guardian review of this exhibition, Waldemar Januszczack wrote:

The huge underbelly of Runcorn Bridge takes the place of sky in one series of views, looming over ships reduced to insect size by the wonders of perspective.

1990 - Turnpike Gallery, Leigh, "Windows and Bridges"

Rod taylor has also participated in numerous group exhibitions, like "Structures in the Landscape" at the Crawford Gallery, Wigan, and "Twelve Manchester Artists" as Kirkaldy. His paintings and drawings also featured in the 1979 Bolton Festival staged to celebrate the bicentenary of the Spinning Mule.

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