Maggie Taylor is a digital artist who lives amid the moss and live oaks at the edge of a small swamp on the outskirts of Gainesville, FL. She explains that most of her childhood in Cleveland, OH, was spent watching countless hours of television. She received a philosophy degree from Yale University and later an MFA in photography from the University of Florida. Luckily, advances in computer science have enabled Maggie to move beyond making strange little color still-life images with a camera and film, she says. Now her digital composites of scans, drawings and photographs are exhibited around the world.
As a longtime admirer of the work of Maggie Taylor, I’m continually fascinated by the worlds she creates inside the frames of her photographic assemblages. I recently had the opportunity to ask her about her visions that I find both magical and more than a little bit eerie.
PS: Your images are narratives for the viewer. What are the sources of the narratives−literary allusions, history, your own imagination, or all of these?
MT: A little bit of everything is blended into the narratives. Sometimes there are autobiographical elements, such as things I recall from childhood. Sometimes there are bits and pieces of stories from the news−I often have TV on in the background while I am working. There are also references to art history, literature, philosophy and the history of photography. But the most important aspect to the narratives is that they are open to the viewer’s interpretation.
PS: Is it your intent that the allusions are simultaneously historical and futuristic?
MT: Since many of the things that I use are old (the 19th-century photographs and other found objects), I like the idea of also infusing the images with something a little contemporary as a kind of counterpoint. So, yes, I would say that I like to have an amalgamation of time periods.
PS: Are they symbolic – metaphoric – personal or universal?
MT: To me they are symbolic, but in a very open-ended way that allows the creative imagination of the viewer to play a role. When I have a particular personal connection to an image, I tend not to let people know about that, as I would rather allow everyone else’s stories to filter into the work.