Taylor, Robert

Place of Birth: 
Tulsa, OK.
     A self-taught artist, Robert Taylor has been inspired & influenced by many friends, relatives & artists, including his maternal grand father Virgil Hughes, Wallace Hughes, Susan Leggett, Paul Pletka, Karl Bodmer, Pieter Bruegel, Oscar Howe, ­ John Biggers, Salvadore Dali, Mirac Creepingbear & Doris Littrell (of the Oklahoma Indian Art Gallery). Robert's philosophy of Art is a synthesis of the wisest teachings of the various cultures of his Blackfeet, Cherokee, Crow, Osage, Scottish & Black Dutch ancestors.
     Robert states, "My art reflects my own spiritual journey & it gives me the ability to make peace with the physical world. We all have that feeling that something is missing, a part of the puzzle we haven't yet found, & so we make our place in this world by adding Art to express our Inner Being." To Robert, Art is what makes us human. Art is humanity's only unique endeavor. Robert sees creativity as a gift from the Creator, a significant biological power that sparks the entire history of Humanity.
     A painter of exceptional technical prowess, Robert assigns greater importance to message than to composition & technique. Robert masterfully transfers the spirit of his imagination onto his painted canvas. According to Robert, All creation, one's life & everything in nature is sacred & full of meaning. Everything (sunlight, water, plants, gravity ... ) "has its own song" that can be expressed objectively or subjectively. Robert cites a Northwest Coast tribe that has a word in their language that means "to breathe". They use that word to define poetry & art. Robert states, "The mere act of breathing is poetry in motion, the art of life. We are all artists - our body is a brush, the world our canvas, & our life is our painting." Encouraging artists to honor "that which inspires" & to follow one's heart in creating Art, Robert states, "Remember the world is shaped by the dreamers NOT the critics".
     Robert asks, "where does the power of art reside?" In the Maker, the Artwork or the viewer? According to Robert, viewing a work of art "is often a confrontation with 'OTHERNESS', & the journey to understanding & appreciation is a movement from observer to participant ... an act of looking at the ordinary while seeing the extraordinary". Robert states, "Each canvas is a portal that I must decorate to invite the viewer in. If they accept, opening the door takes them somewhere only they can witness. It is that jorney that is true art, not the mere flat image I construct. All art is collaboration, for without the viewer it does not extlst."
     Eloquent expressions of symbolism, realism & surrealism, Robert's paintings are loaded with. meaning that is eloquently communicated to the higher self of each viewer. Robert's paintings portray the universality of man. Robert's images & symbols represent his profound awareness that we are all of the same tribe ­ Humanity - only from different clans. Robert paints people of all races as individuals, living in their environments & bound by their human experience & thoughts. His subjects are "not blinded by unquestioned devotion (to) race or creed".
     Robert uses symbols for their universality. Iconic symbols from various religious traditions express similar thoughts & aspirations of people allover the world & reinforce the awareness of our oneness as human beings. Robert says, "we just express them differently." Robert's symbols are loaded with meaning. A pipe made of stone & wood symbolizes earth & vegetation. The bowl is feminine, the stem masculine. The round bowl symbolizes the circularity of creation. The smoke is prayer made visible. A butterfly, although delicate, gorgeous & fleeting, is but one life stage in a cycle of change that reminds us to savor & appreciate every stage of our lives as we grow, flourish & decline.
     Robert intentionally manipulates proportion, using distortion symbolically. Enlarged hands symbolize dexterous minds & the importance of hands in elevating the human species above all other species. Enlarged feet symbolize that we are physically bound to the earth, but our dreams & asperations are heavenly in spirit.
     Robert primarily works with acrylics, watercolor, pen & ink, & prints. Robert has exhibited extensively & won numerous awards at the Trail of Tears Art show at the Cherokee National Museum (Tahlequah, OK), the Five civilized Tribes Museum (Muskogee, OK), the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonials (Gallup, NM) & the Trail of Tears State Park Gallery (Cape Girardeau Co., MO). He has also exhibited at the Los Angeles International Contemporary Art Fair (Los Angeles, CA), the Red Earth Festival (Oklahoma City, OK), the International Art Festival (New York, NY) & the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.). Robert has also participated in art exhibits benefiting the Jane Goodall Foundation & the special olympics.
     Robert's artwork is featured in numerous private & public art collections, including the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art & the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History both at the University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK), the Trail of Tears State Park Gallery (Cape Girardeau Co., MO) & the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C.). In 2005, Robert won the State of Oklahoma Triptych Commission, commemorating u.S. Marshalls who served in Oklahoma Territory, that is exhibited in the Attorney General Building (Oklahoma City, OK).
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