Ithaca-native and artist-in-residence at Cork, Ireland Sylvia Taylor is a printmaker whose work is admired all over the world. And no wonder. For she is one of those rare talents whose work successfully walks the line between immediately accessible and ultimately profound.
Featuring beautifully rendered animals that are full of personality, Taylor’s prints are both playful and charming. They pull you in with their sense of whimsy; their narratives reminding of the iconic childhood characters of Thornton W. Burgress.
But closer inspection reveals a more somber tone. Taylor’s critters often occupy plains of color that are not exactly cheerful. The agitated landscapes created by Taylor’s block cuts appear more foreboding than friendly, like energy barely contained. The threat of innocence lost looms large in the scenes, setting up a paradoxical tension throughout Taylor’s work. As the artist herself puts it: “I enjoy using animals in my relief prints to explore the pathos, humor and humanity of life.” The fact that there is always two sides to Taylor’s work – the humor versus the “heavy” – means that as one continually travels back and forth, the appeal is endless.
Taylor’s prints are available at True North Gallery.