John Yau, London, 2018.
Hardcover, 144 pp., 110 color illustrations,
The first illustrated monograph to consider the entire career to date of a major US painter. John Yau's perceptive text is based on many conversations with Philip Taaffe and access to the artist's extensive archive, as well as long familiarity with the work itself.
This book presents a comprehensive view of the work of American painter Philip Taaffe (b.1955), who has expanded the parameters of painting through his use of silkscreen, linocuts, collage, stencils, gouache, chine-collé, marbling, acrylic, enamel, watercolour and gold leaf. Possessing many technical skills, Taaffe has moved decisively between unique pictorial inventions and appropriations, as well as overlaying divergent modes of representation, through cultural patterns found in ornament, and biomorphic abstraction.
John Yau's insightful text is the first to look at every part of Taaffe's artistic development, from the works he made at Cooper Union while a student of Hans Haacke, to the present. It pays special attention to Taaffe's acquisition of different techniques, as well as investigating his various sources of inspiration, which include the work of experimental filmmakers Stan Brakhage, Bruce Conner and Harry Smith, the Natural History illustrations of Ernst Haeckel, and the ancient art of paper marbling.