Ernest Mervyn Taylor was a wood engraver, painter, illustrator, sculptor and designer, born in Auckland in 1906. In the course of his career as a freelance artist, Mervyn was fascinated in his art with depicting Maori life and legends within his nationalist art movement. This movement sought to capture the particular qualities of New Zealand’s landscape and culture. Mervyn took on the role as being both an artist and communicator, for he wanted his art to be a way to educate by making art more accessible to people. He did this through some of his own private press publications on Maori myths and legends, as well as with his vast oeuvre of wood engraving, murals and painting to connect more people to his lessons.
His more iconographic wood engraving series became one of his most famed series, with each depicting various myths which were beautifully integrated into the whirling and linear engraving. His skill at engraving was born out of his history as a jewellery designer, where he is an expert at transforming simple lines into expressive masterpieces, creating tremendous energy and depth within the 2-D area.
His skill and contribution to the art world placed Taylor ‘in a generation that understood the need to cast off colonialism and discover from within New Zealand a way to see the world and interpret its character from a South Pacific perspective’.
Print size: A2
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