When Carbondale artist Andy Taylor was growing up in Pennsylvania, he lived 15 minutes from iconic American artist Andrew Wyeth. He knew intimately the subject matter that Wyeth mined for his paintings – subsistence farms, ropes, fences, fields, sheds- the honest details of daily life. The area, which now a suburb of Philadelphia, is visually frozen in a former time by Wyeth’s enormous body of work and the intimate focus he cast on the people and objects around him.
Andy left Pennsylvania, completed an art major at Colorado College, and moved to Carbondale in the mid-1970s, sinking new roots into a place with an endless variety of landscape. He began working summers at the Strang ranch on Missouri Heights and found the balance between his art and ranch life. Within his first years in Carbondale, Taylor had begun a rhythm of drawing in pen and ink, recording the scenes he saw every day. He studied not only the big vistas, but the intimate details of the land- the grasses, the trees, the shadows.
39 years later, the sketchbooks are still in use, filed in shelves in Andy’s Carbondale studio. They are visual library of the area, renderings of the details we may barely register as we drive by. It’s hard not to compare Taylor’s methodology to Wyeth’s.
“You find it where you can,” he says with a grin, noting that many of the drawings were things he saw on a roadside and stopped to sketch. “Drawing is training, work, practice, muscle memory,” he continues. “Every artist develops a language of how to express something. It took me ten or fifteen years to make drawing useful to painting, to be able come back into the studio and paint from the sketches.”
The paintings produced are dazzling and extremely popular with local collectors, perhaps in part because they show us our everyday world in such precise line and delicious color. We know these places in our bones and they take on new life in Andy’s works.
The new pieces hung in the gallery this week include scenes from the Carbondale dog park, the banks of the Crystal at CRMS, the beloved Thompson Creek area, and other familiar local landmarks. Also included are paintings of Eastern Utah, the Colorado, Green and other western rivers – the places our area’s residents go when they leave home and wander. The gallery is awash in the expansive vistas and gumdrop colors of these large and saturated paintings.
Ann Korologos Gallery is hosting a reception for his one-man exhibit “Andy Taylor • Current Works” Friday, March 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. The Basalt Library is concurrently showing a collection of Taylor’s sketches.