Material Practice: Howard Taylor’s Journal

Material Practice: Howard Taylor’s Journal

Material Practice: Howard Taylor’s Journal invites you to witness firsthand the evolution of one of Western Australia’s most significant artists, seen through artworks in the Collection along with pages from his Journal.

Howard Taylor is one of Western Australia's most significant artists. When delving into his oeuvre, the focus is emphatically drawn to the artist's intense preoccupation with process. Taylor’s Journal was acquired by AGWA in 2004 and provides intriguing insights into the artist’s material practice through entries from 1946 to 2001. Taylor's journey as an artist is deeply rooted in experimentation, innovation and a relentless exploration of his chosen medium, as documented through the pages of his Journal.

At the heart of Taylor's artistic journey lies his unwavering commitment to process. Each sketch, brushstroke, sculpted form and meticulously crafted surface is a testament to his detailed approach to making – all chronicled within his Journal. Taylor's Journal serves as a repository of his explorations and discoveries, offering a glimpse into the inner workings of his creative mind.

Central to Taylor's artistic vision was his profound engagement with materials. From traditional media like oil to less conventional techniques such as egg tempera, Taylor dedicatedly refined the endless potential of each material at his disposal. His Journal is a companion on this journey, capturing the challenges and resolutions of his artistic experimentation.

We invite you to slow-look and witness firsthand the evolution of Howard Taylor's material practice through artworks from The State Art Collection and selected pages from his Journal. From his early experiments with tempera and form to his later innovations in manipulating light and space, each work of art is a window into the development of Taylor's creative process, enriched by the insight gleaned from his Journal.

Related Information




Howard Taylor Self portrait 1949
Howard Taylor Self portrait 1949
oil on canvas, 55.3 x 45.7 cm
The State Art Collection,
The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Gift of Mr H. Mandelstam, 1949


About Howard Taylor


Howard Taylor, an influential Australian artist renowned for his captivating landscape paintings and sculptures, was deeply influenced by the natural beauty of Western Australia. Born in Hamilton, Victoria, he served as a pilot during World War II. After his service in the war, Taylor received the opportunity to study at the Birmingham School of Art, where European painters inspired his practice and had a lasting impression on his use of materials. His move to Western Australia, living in the Perth hills in Bickley before settling in Northcliffe, a small town in the southwest, marked a significant shift in his artistic journey. The dense forests and natural beauty of this region profoundly influenced his work, creating a deep connection between his art and the environment. Taylor's art, often exploring the interplay of light and form, reflects this connection. His innovative use of materials and techniques led to widespread acclaim, including recognition by the WA State Government, naming him a living treasure and citizen of the year.

Howard Taylor's journal reveals a mind deeply engaged with the natural world, capturing his relentless pursuit of understanding light, form and space. His detailed and insightful reflections provide a glimpse into the meticulous creative process of an artist whose work was both innovative and profoundly connected to the Western Australian landscape.

Emma Bitmead
AGWA Associate Curator Historical Art
On Saturday 27 August, the Gallery is open 10am-3pm only as we prepare for the AGWA Foundation Gala supporting women in the arts. Some exhibition access will be disrupted with two Tracks We Share ground floor galleries closed. AGWA Rooftop bar will be closed, reopening at 2pm Sunday. Details