Edward Colless – Art Collector June 2023

Not so much “underrated” as misunderstood, at least by Australian collectors, inexplicably Terry Taylor – with some 40 years of unstoppable production – has not been represented by an Australia gallery for a decade. That changes mid-year with a show at Melbourne’s Compendium gallery, which will house perhaps 100 new paintings.

Being included in Berlin’s prestigious Thomas Olbricht collection might give a clue as to the calibre and content of her work. Whether on the intimate scale of miniatures, easel sized paintings, or suites of monumental canvases, Taylor’s work is dedicated to portraying an irrepressible army of the undead. Ripe tongues jut from gaping jaw bones, as if lapping up food or diving into a carnal kiss. Hair matted with blood hangs from bony heads like dreadlocks.

Taylor’s skeletons are anything but simple gothic motifs. They prance and out, leer and laugh, cry and wail as they strike madly heroic poses or suffer hideous martyrdom, dressed in theatrical or tribal plumage. With astonishingly virtuosic technique, Tarylor’s brush seems to lure them up through black pools of paint. There’s a deeply human comeddy enacted in her infernal world.