Maxwell “Max” Taylor ((b. 1939) was born in Grant’s Town, New Providence, The Bahamas.
He attended the Western Junior School and Western Senior School and graduated from St. Francis Senior High School. Like Malone, he took art lessons led by Don Russell. Taylor, along with Brent Malone and Kendal Hanna, was one of the ﬁrst apprentices of the Chelsea Pottery in Nassau.
Taylor studied at the Art Students League of New York from 1968 to 1972. He then took further studies in photo silkscreen at The Pratt Graphic Center in 1972 and printmaking at Bob Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop from 1969 to 1977.
His time in New York lasted 20 years before he moved south to the Carolinas, and traveled extensively in Europe, taking in the social, economic and political dynamics of many cultures. Taylor has long admired the works of Daumier, Braque and Picasso.
His work has been exhibited at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico, at The International Printmaking Exhibition, 1971 in Santiago, Chile, and in 1977 as part of the exhibition Bahamian Art Today at Brent Malone’s Matinee Gallery. He held a one-man show in 1979 in Nassau and in 1983 was part of the group of 10 artists selected to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Bahamian independence. In 1991, he co-founded B.-C.A.U.S.E. (Bahamian Creative Artists United for Serious Expression), with Brent Malone, Antonius Roberts, Stan Burnside, Jackson Burnside and John Beadle.On Thursday, October 6, 2011, The United States of America, Ambassador Nicole Avant announced the launch of the Master Artists of The Bahamas exhibition, which ran from October 14, 2011 through January 2012 at the Waterloo Centre for the Arts (WCA) in Iowa. The exhibition featured over 40 pieces of artwork by a diverse group of Bahamian artists, including Amos Ferguson, Brent Malone and Jackson Burnside, as well as contemporary artists Antonius Roberts, Dave Smith, Eddie Minnis, John Beadle, John Cox, Kendal Hanna, Max Taylor and Stan Burnside.
Taylor has participated in numerous solo exhibitions and his work is among the collections of the late Nat King Cole and Sir Harold Christie. Taylor has also received many scholarships and awards such as the Southern Arts Federation Fellowship award for works on paper by the National Endowment for the Arts.
“Many years ago growing up in The Bahamas, we did not have an art school. Mr. Horace Wright was the only art teacher. He had the responsibility of teaching drawing to most of the schools. The lessons did not last that long. In school, we had our own competition…“Then came the Nassau Academy of Fine Arts, under Mr. Don Russell, where I continued to learn drawing. Then the Chelsea Pottery was started, where I met the young Brent Malone, Kendal Hanna, and Vernon Cambridge.
We all had that strong desire to paint and draw. Mr. David Rawnsley was instrumental in instructing and encouraging us always. Mr. Brian Arthur, who was also a potter, used to hire a model for us to draw, but I still had a strong desire to paint. Mr. Arthur, Kendal and I, experimented in many different styles, abstract, expressionism, cubism and impressionism. I remembered Clement Bethell saying to me, ‘Max, I can see that you really want to be a painter’. Mr. Donald Cartwright encouraged us and bought many of our “By experimenting as a young artist, even before going to the Arts Student League of New York, my development was already ingrained. This is why I continue to work in various expressions.”
“‘Ain’t I A Good Mother’ is inspired by the struggle of women in general. There is a diasporic link in the work to African American culture because I have lived there (United States) all these years but I’m fascinated by their culture, especially during the slavery period, 1800s, 1700s. It always intrigued me in the sense of how people had to struggle with little or nothing. And I always like drama – drama in the sense that you’re looking at people who had to hide, they had to struggle, they faced all kinds of hardships. It gets me
“The drama to me consists of the slave trade, and especially in the Underground Railroad and how they had to bind themselves, because if they were caught, they’d be whipped or killed. In cutting the wood or drawing the ﬁgures I can even think of myself sometimes being a part of them, being in there, struggling and running myself.” —Maxwell Taylor
“I have the privilege of two cultures, Afro-Bahamian and Afro-American.
They are different in some aspects of our social struggles. Many of us share the same traditions coming from the African background. I have long been fascinated with the use of extraordinary colors. I am learning to use colour more with every painting and I enjoy the challenge. As a result of my love for creative combinations, it’s very difficult for me to stay within one style of the painting process. My belief is that every theme should ﬁt the atmosphere of that particular idea or the technique related to that atmosphere.”
“I love to draw. I am constantly drawing. I make hundreds of drawings to develop my ideas.” —Maxwell Taylor
“As one of the ﬁrst Bahamian artists, Maxwell is perhaps our most advanced. He is a stubbornly individualist artist that has followed his own vision, disregarding the commercial aspects of art that could have make his life so comfortable.” —Brent Malone, at the opening of a one-man exhibition at Matinee Gallery, on December 12, 1978
“Max Taylor might be the greatest Bahamian artist who ever lived.” —Stan Burnside
Thanks to the Weekender Exclusive, The Nassau Guardian, Maxwell Taylor’s website and the D’Aguilar Art Foundation for information.
Acrylic paints have been available since the 1950s. Taylor has been working with them for decades. Acrylic paints are a favourite form of paint for many artists because of their ability to dry quickly.
Woodcuts have been used since the sixth century, and are created by using an artistic technique in which an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood. Then a print is made from the relief of black and white or colour.
Taylor creates stunning sculptures from plywood by working through a process of laminating, grinding and sanding.