“The time has come”, the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes – and ships – and sealing wax – Of cabbages – and kings- And why the sea is boiling hot – And whether pigs have wings.” Lewis Carroll—from The Walrus and the Carpenter
“This quote from Lewis Carroll is illustrative of Maggie Taylor’s creative process on several levels. First, her imagery is the result of a lifetime of accumulated memories, objects, and images—many we all share. The difference between her memory banks and ours is that she is able to store, catalogue, and retrieve this material digitally and then combine these elements into startlingly familiar images that might best be described as still frames from waking dreams. Her images vacillate between the surreal world of pure imagination and the sensorium of the real.”
The above was written by Mark Sloan as an introduction to “Internal Logic,” a new release from Maggie Taylor. The opening quote by Lewis Carroll is certainly fitting for this compelling new work which is as much old as it is new. Old in the sense that many of the illustrations come from memory; yet in the final product they appear as new, with a twist. With a different context from when they were created so may years ago.I have been a fan and a publisher of Taylor’s work for a few years and each time, with each book, the illustrations are wonderful and enable me to want to spend more time than I have allotted for the purpose of this review. I can assure you, however, that much more time will be spent with Taylor and her new journey.
When I first received the book, I immediately sat down to do my usual cruise-through in an effort to get a “handle” on the totality of the complete package. As many of you know I look at the binding, writing, layout, then there are the images. As I add up all the marks, I find there is nothing but quality throughout all 120 plates. That’s right, 120 plates of fantasy, imagination, and whimsy.
“The manipulation of both scale and context in the picture plane makes room for new interpretations and insights to emerge. Her focus on natural history; taxonomies; antique photographs; recurrent motifs of clouds, gramophones, goggles, and fashion (among many other slight perseverations), Taylor leads us on a tour of her own imagination, complete with personal fixations and aesthetic impulses. This cornucopia of personal revelations contains nothing short of what Carl Jung referred to as our collective unconscious. The fact that many of the items in Taylor’s visual vocabularium represent dead or dying technologies (gramophones, old photos, Zeppelins, etc.) is further evidence that these poetic renderings are intended as cultural markers for things nearing extinction from our collective memory.” (Sloan)
Sloan, in his above text, continues my own thoughts about the massive storage of images, ideas, etc., that reside in the hard drive of Taylor’s mind. Once I had done my initial page turning and as I was closing in on Plate 120, I realized “Internal Logic” belonged in this Color It Red 2022 issue of Shadow & Light Magazine. The color red has a prominent appearance. The mere fact that the color red represents strength and power defines the subtle reality of its presence, here. With the color red we are asked to take our foot off the throttle and turn the pages a bit slower; to enable the viewer to grasp the true meaning of each creation.
“There is a palpable sense of astonishment that permeates these works. In a society now moving at break-neck pace, hurtling toward tomorrow’s technological miracles, Taylor’s art invites us to slow down; to dare to be awed, if only for a few moments. In the space she creates, we are free to allow our minds to wander, to wonder, and to speculate wildly.” (Sloan)
“Maggie Taylor’s digital creations are emblematic, afterimages that invite, transport, and are unforgettable. Taylor’s images are built, layer by layer and object by object, through a disciplined studio process of trial and error. It is only through looking at dozens of these images, and spending time with them, that one begins to unravel the artist’s sensibilities and distinct fascinations that emerge through the repetition of certain images and tropes. ‘Internal Logic’ highlights Taylor’s sense of what makes an image ‘work’ and offers insights into the shape and contours of her inspirations. Her deep archive of images that return to her art are a lexicon through which to communicate her multi-layered imaginings. Each image contains the keys to understanding the corpus of other images.” (Amazon)
Taylor has been published widely and is exhibited in many countries around the world. It is almost impossible to begin on page 1 and turn each page of “Internal Logic” in a rhythmic pattern. I was doing just that until I came across The Companions. The same can be said of A Fine Romance. And let’s not forget The Concert!
Now, it’s time for you to turn the pages and view a mere sampling of the thought-provoking talent of a true artis that is, most certainly, of her time.
This release already has a deserved place on my “special and treasured” bookshelf. Where will you place your copy?
Original article published in Shadow & Light Magazine, July/August 2022