Maggie Taylor (born in 1961, Ohio) is an American artist who produces stunning, dreamlike photographic images that are the result of an extensive digital photomontage process. In 1983, Maggie graduated from Yale University with a BA in Philosophy, and went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography at the University of Florida in 1987. In 2004, Maggie won the Santa Fe Centre for Photography’s Project Competition, and her work is widely known and exhibited across the United States, and Europe. Maggie now lives and works in Gainesville, Florida, surrounded by an expanse of nature and wildlife, which are prominent features in her work. We are very excited that Maggie is taking part in Photography on a Postcard 2018.
Maggie Taylor, But Who Has Won? From ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, 2008. Source: http://maggietaylor.com/work/alices-adventures-in-wonderland/
Maggie’s work redefines the way we think about traditional photographic practices. The resulting surrealistic, dreamlike landscapes she produces seem to defy the capabilities of a camera. Maggie’s prints, in fact, consist of multiple layers, physically and digitally altered to create the painterly quality in the finished product. She begins by taking digital photographs on a point-and-shoot camera, and then putting various objects and old photographs into a flatbed scanner. She then combines these images through an extensive process of layering and manipulation in Adobe Photoshop, to create otherworldly digital collages. On this process, Maggie has said “the many layering possibilities in Photoshop keep me very busy. I can end up with 100 or more layers in an average image”. Despite this, the spaces in Maggie’s photos are not over complicated, and invite a viewer to engage with a surreal, yet believable environment.
Maggie’s process in creating a work has a real sense of narrative. Each photograph is an amalgamation of new technologies and software; and random, often second-hand objects and antique photographs that Maggie finds in all manner of places. Flea markets, beaches, and forests all provide an assortment of articles, both natural and manmade, ranging from shells to vintage taxidermies. So not only do Maggie’s photographs construct a bizarre storyline within themselves, they are also a site of unique, uncovered histories coming together. This eccentric sense of narrative is a definite asset in Maggie’s photographic retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, where the fantastical story and its characters sing in harmony with the distinguishable aesthetic of her work.
Maggie Taylor, Alligator Woman (2014). Source: http://maggietaylor.com/work/2014-2016/
There is a darkness to her work that sets it apart from a quintessential childishness, however. Maggie states that she has always gravitated towards the same colour palettes in her work, and the muted colours of her images contribute to a sense of ominousness. The bodies of water are murky, the trees spindly and the clouds gloomy. This cleverly offsets the bizarre narratives and characters within her work, giving them an aura of the Victorian gothic.
Maggie has previously talked about feeling inadequate as a painter, and so her work is a method of exercising her wild imagination that goes beyond using a paintbrush. She continues to challenge the parameters of artistic media and is a stunning example of the extensive possibilities of photography. Again, it is so exciting to have Maggie on board for Photography on a Postcard, and one of her fabulous pieces could be yours - so join us at Photo London in May!
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