Visual Arts | Who Do You Love

Richard Taylor is Inspired by Artists Who Work with Color and Form to Create an Emotional Charge

When Richard Taylor scrawls mathematical equations across a canvas, as he does in his 2019 piece “Schwarzschild and all that,” or invokes a German physicist and astronomer in the title,  it’s not some form of intellectual posing, an aesthete veering sharply out of his lane. The Salt Lake City artist has graduate degrees in Physics (M.S., Brigham Young University) and Materials Science (Ph.D., Duke), has worked as a researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and has lectured on quantum mechanics, physical symmetry, and materials properties at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Most recently, Taylor’s interest in materials has focused on the properties of oil paint, spread on canvas, and its capacity to express emotions. “I explore form, color, and material as the phonemes of a reductionist language of emotional expression,” Taylor says of his work.

Richard Taylor’s “The Sky Enters Me Like a Sword”

His influences are strongly rooted in mid-century American art. “A chorus of voices joins me when I paint: Frankenthaler’s and the Washington School artists’ work on color, de Kooning’s and Serra’s work on form, Guston’s social commentary and emotional charge; the writing of Clement Greenberg, Richard Serra, and so forth are deep conceptual wells to build on, modify, distort, and transform.

But there is one voice that for me has been louder than the rest: de Kooning is the artist that consistently brings me to tears. His gestural approach is at once spontaneous and contemplative. Maybe it’s the confluence of chaos and intention in his work that deeply reflects the human condition. I love his work the same way I love sleeping in the desert or walking alone in the woods.”

Taylor’s sees in Willem de Kooning’s 1950 work “Excavation” an inspiring combination of chaos and intention. Image © 2018 The Willem de Kooning Foundation

Taylor’s work can be viewed at Meyer Gallery in Park City and online at In November of this year Bountiful Davis Art Center will host an exhibition of his work.

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1 reply »

  1. This really isn’t what I expect when I enter an art venue . . .
    and I’m sorry to say that, because I would be delighted if it happened more often.
    I met a painter who taught college English and never, ever was offered a show by the Art Department . . .
    apparently a material scientist’s determination to try everything and keep what works passes the test.
    We can learn from other’s mistakes, and from what Richard Taylor got right.

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