Stuart Harry Taylor Devon, United Kingdom
(BA Fine Art Solent Uni 94) To realise spiritual identity vis-a-vis with our attempts to codify life. Acts17:28 Archive/recent work/life writing/ideas
“Seeing comes before words”. John Berger ‘Ways Of Seeing’
Stuart’s work humorously explores the frailty of language and our corresponding attempts to label, codify or categorise things at the Altar of the Golden Calf called ‘Identity’ - particularly as we age in life and try to form personal narratives of meaning and value with the shifting sands of time.
His art pieces point towards calculated intervention, the sourcing and collecting of certain materials, the act of making and subsequent completion within the gaze of surveillance-referencing societal systems of power and control. Labels, receipts, times, dates, places and ‘found objects’ find a place within his collections as he tries to come to terms with life.
His motive as a practitioner is visual ‘life writing’ using things collected of personal value. The objects are personal but presented de-personally allowing the viewer to form narratives of interest to make the art pieces personal to them likewise. He gives a majority of his art pieces banal and seemingly obvious titles however his intention is to allow the viewer to question their experience between what they see and what they know, or rather, to imply what they might not know, suggesting veils of secrecy, encryption and agendas within the gaze of power. The titles simply reinforce his intention to present the viewer with a choice to either engage and question or to dismiss Stuart’s perspective. A dismissal is just as valued as an engagement within the exposure of experience as this alludes (he feels) to the actual subject matter of power and it’s impenetrability, its coercive protocols and judgements, which typify government and corporate institutions, a frustrating experience to the ‘enquiring many’ who are denied due to compliance yet illuminating to the disciplined, the selected few, the initiated and the bestowed.
Stuart’s intention is to objectively and carefully sidestep the ‘tractor beam’ of the subject matter’s character and its disempowering effects by humorously presenting his utmost personal and trivial. ‘I suppose it’s my way of inverting these man made systems for my own purposes, but hopefully not too indulgently as I wish to signpost for others that life does matter and documenting it via note taking, sketching, photography etc is a powerful and meaningful act within a society that continually vacillates its surveillance around public and private restrictions.’
‘I understand the paradox of wanting control and its vapid hopelessness. Power corrupts. Human beings traditionally make a bad job of it due to its divisiveness with countless tragic examples to refer to and are still repeating this anachronism in this ever growing technocratic global regime.’
‘Irony ( rather than protest ) is something I treasure, a clever device due to its elusiveness to ‘unpick’ agendas and hint towards truthfulness particularly when I research into the establishment which historically was determined by the whims of the unaccountable wealthy and influential, who likewise behaved sovereignly in wider society, writing the history books to produce a narrative that suited them while using the nation state and its fabricated identity as a ruse. Fine Art’s emergence of course was fair game too and still is exploited as a Trojan Horse for the establishment’s purposes whether it be propaganda or controlled opposition. Moreover on a more universal level I struggle with the futility of man made fictions of alphabets, numbers, symbols and words which actually have no origin in nature. I see language within science and culture having become highly politicised, particularly academic medicine, which historically has been the most important pillar of support to all dictatorships and governments that don’t want to submit to human rights and ultimately to the democratically legitimized social contract.
Consequently I now strive with a passion to respond to the world I see before me and look to inhabit’ he says.
To quote Marcel Duchamp - ‘It’s true, of course, humor is very important in my life, as you know. That’s the only reason for living, in fact.’
All feedback is greatly appreciated as I seek to support and learn from other researchers within the sociopolitical spectrum.
With enthusiasm Stuart
Stuart Harry Taylor 2021