(Angus Taylor 2012)
About the artwork
Artist statement: The mythological Roman goddess Venus (Aphrodite - her Greek account) is my muse for this installation. She thrives naturally on the riverbed, pronouncing her properties of prosperity, fertility, sex, love and beauty as the matriarch of the fertile land - known as Saronsberg wine estate
The goddess is dressed in stacked pebble stone, local to Tulbagh, for the whole region was once a riverbed. This new found material process has allowed me to see the value of natural material as an inherent conveyer of meaning. The presence of stone in this installation, allows the concepts; land and life, to connect with water.
The incorporation of stone in Archetype and Uit Klip Uit Water, both present at Saronsberg, played an instrumental role in my creative process. From this point onwards, I have worked continuously in local natural stone, utilizing slate from the Marico bush veld, granite from Mpumalanga as well as granite from Rustenburg.
The installation is detailed with layered reference. Venus’s hands signal a triangular shape symbolizing the womb. A five-pointed star adores her bust, in reference to Venus. The figure's hair is somewhat styled in fashion of the god of nature, Pan’s horns.
The installation was partly created in my studio Dionysus Sculpture Works, in Pretoria where I produced the aluminum body casts, but it was finally built in situ outside the Saronsberg wine cellar in Tulbagh valley.
About Taylor’s art
“Taylor’s ambitious nature has him tackling materials and scale that most sculptors would prefer to avoid” according to Froud (2010). His choice of material is constantly being reappraised and even when he chooses traditional materials like granite or bronze they are used in a unique way, eschewing the workability of granite in favour of its block-like potential to construct form that alludes to human form without describing it - as traditional stone sculpture does (Snyman: 2012). This inventiveness with which he approaches materials locates Taylor as a post-modern artist referencing traditional crafting techniques but using them in a contemporary manner and style. It is in the multiplicity of approaches and in the uses of diverse and sometimes alternate materials that Taylor has gathered praise and recognition (Anni Snyman 2012).
Angus van Zyl Taylor (b. 1970) completed his BA in fine arts in 1996 at the University of Pretoria. He started his own art studio and foundry, Dionysus Sculpture Works (DSW), in 1998 which developed into a highly specialised workspace comprising of a skilled collective of visual artists and artisans. Taylor has won numerous art awards and his artwork features in various prestigious public and private art collections locally and internationally.
Boshoff, W. Definition of Dorsiduct. (Personal communication, no date).
Froud, G. 2010. Angus Taylor. [Online] Available from: http://www.angustaylor.co.za/profile.html [Accessed 12 November 2014].
Snyman, Annie. Site-Specific Land Art Biennale curator. Biography of Angus Taylor (Personal communication, 2012).
Taylor, A. Interviewed by: Stutzer, R. (12th November 2014).