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The Affirmation of Social Class in the Drawings of Sally Taylor

Corby, Vanessa ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4019-9195 (2017) The Affirmation of Social Class in the Drawings of Sally Taylor. Drawing: Research, Theory, History, Practice, 2 (2). pp. 363-374.

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The drawings of British artist Sally Taylor (1977) are composed of heads of various descriptions: blockheads, confused heads, hysterical heads, heads with mouths and heads without, heads full of menace and heads full of glee. The pressure of these recurring motifs, which emerge from as many as two hundred drawings a day, mark out Taylor’s practice as an active negotiation of repetition and difference. Norman Bryson famously characterised drawing as an act that resists the finality of the image to instead suspend a moment of ‘becoming’ (Bryson 2010: 150). The nuanced consistency of Taylor’s prolific output exemplifies Bryson’s understanding of the medium. What interests me here, however, are the performative aesthetic and material operations that make these drawings call to one another and their audience. The aim of this critical essay is to consider the inextricable relationship between form and content in the works Taylor exhibited in That Head That Head at the Rabley Drawing Centre, Wiltshire (26 September – 29 October 2016). To do so, I argue, is to situate their aesthetic as a negotiation and transformation of the social politics of making art in Great Britain at the beginning of the Twenty-first Century. More particularly, this short essay’s reading of her work stands as a provocation to the vilification of the working classes in the run up to and after the EU referendum and, in doing so, testifies to the necessity for Taylor’s project.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/drtp.2.2.363_1
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
School/Department: School of the Arts
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/2295

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