"Themes and Variations," an exhibit of intimate landscapes, birds and nude studies by New Hampshire-based photographer Paul Taylor, opens January 17, 2008 at Hallmark Museum of Contemporary Photography's Gallery 85. Taylor's black and white images, of scenes as diverse as the Turkish countryside and the Connecticut River Valley, were created using photogravure printing, ambrotype and the wet collodion process, arcane photographic techniques that shaped the earliest days of photography. The exhibition continues through March 16, 2008.
An Artist's Reception with live music and hors d'oeuvres will be held at Gallery 85 from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, January 19. The museum will be open extra hours on this date until 7 p.m. An Illustrated Artist's Talk by Taylor will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the lecture hall at the Hallmark Institute of Photography Educational Center, Industrial Boulevard, Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Doors open at 6:45 p.m.; seating begins at 7:15 p.m. Refreshments follow the talk.
Many of the images in "Themes and Variations" are the result of extended visits by Taylor to Turkey's Cappadocia region, known for its erosion-sculpted pinnacles, dovecotes, villages and spiritual sanctuaries carved in stone cliffs. Images are drawn also from Taylor's Connecticut River Valley series; intimate, moody portraits from the 300-mile long New England river landscape.
"I create images that reflect the history, culture, and mystery of the places and objects that I photograph. The work is about beauty, the beauty of light, the beauty of landscape, and the beauty of the photographic process," Taylor writes.
The grace and sweeping broadness of Taylor's images belie the sheer physicality of his chosen photographic techniques, which often involve trekking through countryside with large format equipment and portable darkroom.
Taylor, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1958, received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1986, and that same year launched Renaissance Press, Inc. Specializing in such contemporary and historic photographic techniques as photogravure, wet plate collodion, platinum, cyanotype, gum dichromate and gelatin silver techniques, Renaissance Press has published the fine art works of numerous artists. Among these, Taylor has worked with Roy DeCarava, Aaron Siskind, Willem DeKooning, Sally Mann, Robert Mapplethorpe and Louise Bourgeois.
In addition to teaching workshops on a variety of photographic processes, Taylor teaches in the Print Making Department at The Rhode Island School of Design. He has taught at the University of Connecticut, Greenfield Community College and Eastern Connecticut State University. He is co-director of Renaissance Press Digital in Brattleboro, Vermont.
The Prusoff International Travel Grant, Ortihasar, Turkey (2002, 2004, 2005), and The Eleanor Janeway Foundation Artists Grant Program, are among awards Taylor has received. He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in New England, New York, Rhode Island, California, North Carolina and Washington State.
Taylor resides with his wife in Ashuelot, New Hampshire.
Hallmark Museum of Contemporary Photography's 85 Avenue A Gallery is located on the corner of 3rd Street and Avenue A, downtown Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Regular museum hours are Thursday through Sunday, 1-5 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.