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Michael E. Taylor

(b. 1944)

An accomplished ceramicist and glass blower, Michael E. Taylor turned to different techniques to produce glass constructions in the 1980s. He cuts, laminates and polishes quarter- and half-inch machine-made glass, transforming flat sheets into sculptural forms that reference vessels and the history of glass and ceramics. His earlier, one-color glass sculptures, such as Jaimon Vessel (1984), referenced ancient Japanese ceramics dating from 10,000 – 300 BCE.  Taylor’s use of precision, symmetry and the color blue brought his vessel into the 20th century with metaphoric inferences. Synoptic Torsion 21 (1991) is far more complex, representing Taylor’s later incorporation of multiple colors, dynamic planes, and larger scale.

As an educator, Taylor has taught all over the world: in Japan, Sweden, Holland, Mexico, Korea, and across the United States. He was head of the Glass Department at Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences in New York for twenty years (1981-2001) and nine years prior served in the Visual Arts Department at Vanderbilt University in Peabody College in Tennessee. From 2005 to 2013, he was an invited professor at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, in Portugal. In addition, Taylor writes poetry and texts about physics and his work in cold-worked glass. He argues that his work transcends the decorative arts because of its “elevated subject matter and process.” He discusses the inclusion of color in his works that induces viewers to interact with his sculptures in the round, as with his Synoptic Torsion Series, that was inspired by his work in Sweden, made possible by Fulbright and Scandinavian grants.