Francoise Taylor's Exhibition in Manchester
Guardian, February 1963
WE THINK of Francoise Taylor as a maker of line and wash drawings which are notable for their poetry and their decorative qualities. It is therefore surprising to find that in her current show at the Tib Lane Gallery, Manchester, she is beginning to work in the richer medium of oil paint. True, half of the work shown is precisely of the kind which we have come to expect, fairy-tale line drawings patchworked in blue and brown; paper songs of industrial towns purged of all squalor; streets where the walkers dream and the buildings lean in an even external moonlight.
But this time the drawings also show an extension, of place if not of purpose, for several of them were made on a trip to Greece and reflect the simpler and drier architecture and atmosphere of the Cyclades. The transition from Bolton to the Aegean is accomplished by a simplification of means and, in the best drawings, by a reduction of overall texture. This imposed economy is all to the good for there is no loss of poetry, only an increase in legibility.
From the point of view of progress, however, the oil paintings are the most interesting of all, for the medium is more demanding and less responsive to the kind of spontaneous calligraphy on which the drawings depend. Indeed, where the drawings are crisp, the paintings are soft; where the drawings lean on linear vitality, the paintings rest on colour sense, on mood, and on textural interest. And yet, in their soft and almost fumbling quality, the paintings show no loss of poetry. It is as though stripped of an almost habitual technique a larger personality is about to emerge. There has always been a kind of child-magic in Francoise Taylor's world; these paintings hint at the magician.