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David Taylor

David Taylor

American, born 1965

David Taylor received a B.F.A. degree in studio art and photography from Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1989. He went on to earn an M.F.A. in visual design and photography from the University of Oregon in 1994. He taught art at the Oregon College of Art and Craft and at Linfield College for four years before moving to New Mexico in 1999. Among his early bodies of work are: Frontier/Frontera, an examination of the concept of the American West in relation to the U.S./Mexican border and contrasting definitions of the border as a portal and a barrier (photographic, video, and installation work, 2005-2007); A Measure of Faith and a Line in the Sand, which looks at a complex of political, economic, and environmental issues in the border region that includes the sacred pilgrimage site Mount Cristo (photographic, video, and installation work, 2005-2007); and High Water, a multi-media series that incorporates archival photographs alongside the artist’s own photos, which looks at the topographic legacy of the prehistoric Missoula Floods and the Columbia Basin hydropower project in Washington (1998-2001). Taylor’s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows across the country and he has spoken extensively about his work at venues including the New Mexico History Museum, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, and the Medium Festival of Photography in San Diego.

In 2008, Taylor received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship for his work along the border, centered on documenting 276 obelisks installed between 1892-1895 to mark the international boundary between the United States and Mexico. The monuments are situated along the boundary ranging from El Paso/Juarez to San Diego/Tijuana. During the course of the project, Taylor negotiated an unusual level of access to border operations from the U.S. side. While photographing the monuments, many of which were difficult to reach due to remote and challenging terrain, Taylor also photographed the people he encountered: drug smugglers, migrants, border guards, and residents. His publication Working the Line -- published by Radius Books of Santa Fe in 2009 and now out of print – presents both aspects of the project.

Selections from Working the Line were shown at the New Mexico History Museum in the summer of 2010. Taylor’s work appeared in the New Mexico Museum of Art’s exhibition Past Present Future: Michael Berman, David Taylor, and Connie Samaras (Oct. 28, 2011-April 22, 2012) and his photograph Border Monument No. 210 was included in the museum’s exhibition It’s About Time: 14,000 Years of Art in New Mexico (May 11, 2012-Jan. 5, 2014) and is reproduced in the accompanying book New Mexico Art Through Time: Prehistory to the Present (p. 184). His work has also been shown at James Kelly Contemporary in Santa Fe, which currently represents him.

While photographing the Working the Line series, Taylor was associate professor of art at the New Mexico State University at Las Cruces, where he taught for fourteen years. In 2012, he was recruited by the University of Arizona’s School of Art and is now a tenured professor. His work is in collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Portland Art Museum in Oregon; the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College in Chicago; the El Paso Museum of Art; and Fidelity Investments in Boston. His photographs have been widely published, appearing online in The New Yorker online and Fraction magazine; in print magazines including Orion and Esquire; and in numerous exhibition and book reviews. (Ware, 2013)