Maxwell Taylor, from Nassau, Bahamas, is strongly influenced by the Black Power movement, Taylor’s work tackles human rights issues, illustrating momentous events for emancipation, equal rights and job equality. Throughout his career, he has explored themes of despair, celebration and atrocity.
Discovered as an artist while still a schoolboy, Maxwell Taylor (born 1939) believes that his art practice and technique should use many creative combinations to achieve his vision. Taylor lived in New York for many years, studying at the Art Students League of New York from 1968 to 1972, then taking further studies in photo silkscreen at The Pratt Graphic Center in 1972 and printmaking at Bob Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop. After twenty years in New York, during which he worked on construction sites to support his artistic practice, he traveled south to the Carolinas and then to Europe. Taylor currently lives and works between The Bahamas and Florida.
Taylor has participated in numerous solo exhibitions and his work is among the collections of the late Nat King Cole and Sir Harold Christie. Taylor was awarded the Southern Arts Federation Fellowship award for works on paper by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2009, the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas mounted a major retrospective of Taylor’s work in an exhibition titled “Max Taylor: Paperwork, 1960-1992”, which featured a great number of his emotionally-charged large scale woodblock prints.
The stark “The Tragedy of Emmett Till” (1983), depicts a tragic low point in American history from 1955 in Mississippi when 14-year-the teenager of the same name was lynched for flirting with a white woman (also visible in the current show). Works in the National Collection such as “Cry Freedom, S.A.” (1990), or “Johnny Gone, South Africa”, (1990), also speaking to global movements in civil justice and in particular, the apartheid era. While private collectors might buy works that delight or charm them, in the formation of a National Collection, an Acquisitions Committee must consider many other criteria beyond aesthetics.
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