Robin Gibson Gallery

modern + contemporary

Sandra Taylor

Sandra Taylor

Spoils of Victory
54×36×20cm ceramic

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Sandra Taylor’s reputation was won in the 70s with her satirical works on Sydney suburban life.

She was foremost in this country to break free from the stronghold of traditional ceramics and has influenced generations of students.
Her inclusion in the 3rd Sydney Biennale, 1979 was seen as an acknowledgement of Contemporary Australian ceramics at a time when it was still in the craft arena.

In the early 80s Taylor left Sydney and took up living “in the land of the last dying stockman”. She made work about human striving amidst the vastness and effortless of nature.

Taylor was granted an Australian Council Fellowship in the mid 90s. She is represented in the Australian National Gallery and most State and regional galleries.

Last year Grafton Regional Gallery presented True Stories, a retrospective of Sandra Taylor’s work from 1975-2017.

Taylor sums up her achievements
Once upon a time I made a series of little ceramic hand bags and stamped GUCCI all over them in response to a new fashion phenomena. Designer labels began appearing on the outside of garments instead of on the inside and high fashion devotees transformed into human billboard. We must have liked this idea, just look at us now.

Anyhow one of these little clay GUCCI bags went on to win itself a prestigious ceramic award in Italy, homeland of Mr Gucci himself. It made news in all the Sydney papers and I was suddenly seen as somebody I hadn’t been the day before.

And here I am 40 years down the track picking up on the shopping thing again. This time it’s paintings on paper bags and I suddenly realise I haven’t travelled very far at all

Happily Ever After
is Taylor’s latest body of work


Sandra Taylor

Born To Be Wild
57×34cm acrylic on brown paper carry bag

  • Sold

Wouldn’t you agree that our lives are a messy mix of pretty and ugly pictures as we grope around trying to work out why we are here and what we are supposed to do with ourselves while we are here

And when they tell us love is all there is, well, we have to deal with the want of it, the lack of it & the mess we make of ourselves trying to get it

Love is a many splendid thing. So when we’re looking for it, it’s absolutely necessary to do a lot of shopping. When we’ve got it, then its really essential to do lots more shopping. And when we lose it, well, shopping is the only way to mend a broken heart

From Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Sandra Taylor (b. 1942) trained at East Sydney Technical College in 1965-66, and in the early 1970s moved away from making functional wares in the Anglo-Oriental style, towards making painted and modelled narratives of Australian life. These have usually been humorously and critically observant of some aspect of Australian ‘norms’, and over the years she has made these observations through metaphors as diverse as pigs, savaloys, palm trees, dogs, cattle, houses, swimming pools and pencil pines.

The Museum has some modelled works from 1979. This plate is the culmination of a 1992 series ‘Yarns from the Bush’, made after Taylor had moved to Buccarumbi in northern NSW. Most of the series was exhibited at the Macquarie Galleries but this one was made later, and she considers it a most significant example of that group. Later work (included in the file) extends this painted work onto three dimensional objects like houses, in the ‘Romantic Dividends’ series of 1996.

Sandra Taylor, along with Lorraine Jenyns and Mark Thompson, was among the first of the 1970s potters to successfully shift from a prevailing functional aesthetic, and has consistently pursued particular themes. She has been influential on a large number of ceramic artists since that time. This is an excellent example of her painted work of the 1990s.

She identifies the motifs in this plate as ‘symbolic bush language’ that she has intuitively evolved over some time. eg: The dog turns into a cow, a person sometimes becomes a cow (see the figure with double heads), sometimes a creature becomes a tree or a branch. The eye symbol is a watcher (in early days this was a galah, then a dog, and is now an eye).

See ‘Yarns from the Bush’ article from Craft Arts 1992; article by Helen Stephens in Ceramics: Art and Perception (1996)

Sandra Taylor CV

1942 born Sydney, Australia
1967 Graduated from East Sydney Technical College
68-77 Taught ceramics “ High Schools, Technical Colleges, Sydney Teachers’ College, Sydney College of the Arts
1972 Established own studio in Balmain
1974 Grant received from Crafts Board
1977 Awarded Gold Medal of the Faenza Credito Romagnolo
1982 Moved to Northern New South Wales
1993 Sandra’s property became a centre for creative exploration “Blackadder Creative Retreat”
1995 Visual Arts Craft Fund Fellowship
1997 Final workshop. Property sold

Solo Exhibitions

2018 “Happily Ever After: works on paper” Robin Gibson Gallery
2017 Sandra Taylor True Stories 1975-2017, Grafton Regional Gallery
1996 Chapman Gallery, Canberra
1992 Macquarie Galleries, Sydney
1988 Moree Plains Regional Gallery
1987 & 1979 Realities Melbourne
1986 & 1981 Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney
1977 Art of Man Gallery, Sydney


1989 Bligh Park Shopping Centre mural, Windsor
1987 Harbourside Festival Marketplace, Darling Harbour Sydney, mural

Selected Group Exhibitions

2017-2018 – Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award touring exhibition in NSW & QLD
sine 1981 – numerous group shows at Robin Gibson Gallery
1997 “Australische Keramic” Gallery Handwerk, Munich Germany
1997 “Sidney Myer Fund International Ceramics Award” Shepparton Gallery Victoria
1997 “The Fletcher Challenge Ceramics Award” Auckland NZ
1997 “Ceramics” Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney
1997 “Kutani International Decorative Ceramic Exhibition” Japan
1997 “Sculptural Objects, Functional Art” (SOFA) Chicago, USA
1995 “Out of the Void” Queensland Art Gallery
1995 “Designex” Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre, Sydney
1995 “Delinquent Angel” Faenza Italy (then touring Australia)
1994 “Pots and Platters” recent Australian ceramics from the Powerhouse Museum and other collections, Penrith Regional Gallery
1994 “Craft Australia” for collectors’ circle of the American Craft Museum
1993 “Fresh Clay” Australian Craft Centre, Melbourne
1993 “Messa Berlin” Tradefair Exhibition, Germany
1993 “From Func to Functional” McWhirter’s Art Space Brisbane
1993 “12th National Gold Coast Ceramic Award”
1992 “Decorated Clay” Queensland Art Gallery (touring)
1992 “Australian Landscapes” Gold Coast City Art Gallery
1992 “Expo 92” Australian Pavilion Seville Spain
1992 “11th National Gold Coast Ceramic Art Award”
1992 “Indoor Landscapes” Craft Council of Queensland
1991 “Australian Crafts in Chicago” (C I N A F E ’91)
1991 “Australia Pacific World Craft s Exhibition” Kyoto Japan
1991 “David Jones” Australia Day Crafts Exhibition, Sydney
1991 “Craft Expo ’91” Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney
1991“Decorated Vessel” 6th National ceramic conference, McWhirter’s Art Space, Brisbane
1991 “The Vessel” Gold Coast City Art Gallery
1990 “Three Artists from Australia”; part of Australia’s contribution to the New Zealand 1990 Commonwealth Games
1988 “20×20 Crafts in Society (1970-1990)” Crafts Council NSW touring exhibition
1986 “Clat Statements“2nd National Darling Downs Survey
1983 “Aspects of Australian Crafts” Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
1983 “Australian Decorative Arts “ the past 10 years” National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
1982 “Contemporary Australian Ceramics” National Gallery of Victoria touring NZ & USA
1981 “Contemporary Australian Ceramics” Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney
1979 “European Dialogue” 3rd Biennale of Sydney
1978 “Australian Craft- A Survey of Recent Work” touring major Australian Sate Galleries
1976 “35th Concorso Internationale d’Arte Ceramica” Faenza, Italy
1973 “Australian Ceramics” Sydney Opera House opening festival exhibition, CLM Gallery, Sydney


Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Grafton Regional Gallery
Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre
Queensland Art Gallery QAGOMA
Shepparton Art Gallery
Bathurst Regional Art Gallery
Campbelltown City Council Regional Gallery
Gold Coast City Art Gallery
Queensland University of Technology
National Gallery of Victoria
New England Regional Art Museum
UNSW Art & Design, Sydney
Ipswich City Council Regional Art Gallery
Brisbane City Council
Orange Regional Art Gallery
Darling Downs Institute, Toowoomba
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Arts Victoria Festival Collection
Art Bank, Sydney
The Phillip Morris Collection, Sydney
Rockhampton City Art Gallery
Geelong City Art Gallery
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Crafts Board of Australia
Melbourne University Art Gallery
Melbourne State College
Wollongong City Art Gallery
International Museum of Ceramics, Faenza, Italy
Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville
Glasshouse Port Macquarie
Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery
Lismore Regional Gallery

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