South Australian-based artist CJ Taylor was recently announced the winner of the lucrative Whyalla Art Prize for his photo-cinematic project The Hut.
“It’s really nice to be recognised in South Australia for work that was made in South Australia,” Taylor says.
“While I went around the world and took bits and pieces, the fundamental premise is born of this land. It’s where I am, it’s where I live.”
The Hut #2 (2017), 100cm x 43cm. Pigment print on acrylic glass facemount
The work, a result of his PhD that he has spent the last four years studying in Canberra at the Australian National University, encompasses all the ideas and photographic techniques Taylor has been exploring throughout his career and studies. Sitting somewhere between photography and cinema, Taylor’s work includes what he describes as “elastic photography”.
“It’s that bit where both technically and conceptually photography meets cinema but there is an overlap,” he says. “It’s a bit photographic and it’s a bit cinematic, but it’s neither in that it doesn’t take the temporal restrictions of either medium it pulls at the edges of it.”
Still life with pear and bush fly (2014), 84cm x 100cm, Pigment print on acrylic glass facemount
The Hut combines 19th century photographic techniques such as ambrotypes and tintypes with current technology to create a hyper-real work where history and convention, flora and fauna, life and death all fold in upon themselves.
The Hut is full of Renaissance motifs as well as references to South Australian historical figures, whom Taylor is hesitant to name so it isn’t seen as a biographical work. Instead he has taken artifacts which relate to these individuals and given them new connections and reanimated them.
“I have spent the last decade conflating time into this idea that time collapses,” he explains. “From the conflation of time, experience and memory you have this opportunity to generate something new and a better way of living in place and time.”
Excerpt from The Hut (5/4) (2017) 21:9 Aspect Ratio, HD Video
When he talks about time collapsing it’s also an exercise in beauty, which is something that can’t be measured.
The Hut and Taylor’s practice in general examine notions of beauty and the grotesque in an Australian vernacular. His work reflects how he sees the world, how he experiences it, lives in it and how he sees it working. Taylor is creating works that look at how history, time and place can be present all at once in any given moment.
Whyalla Art Prize
Middleback Arts Centre, Whyalla
Until Saturday, December 2
Header image: Dingo Cartouche (2011) (detail.), 133cm x 100cm. Pigment print on acrylic glass facemount