1988–92: Stains and Puddles

. . . Pet stains . . . hopefully that’s something that everyone has seen in common. They hold together in a visual memory bank. And I personally find them very—some of them— very sublime as drawings.

The stain as a source of inspiration has a long history going back to Leonardo da Vinci, who encouraged artists to find models of composition in old stains on walls. Victor Hugo and the Surrealists experimented with ink stains to stimulate their imagination. Around 1990, Taylor gave the concept a new twist by imitating the patterns of stains left by dogs on the sidewalk. In drawings at once refined and playful, he visualized stains moving from one plane to another and puddles hanging from wires. On some of the sheets he inscribed names next to the stains—as if to identify the perpetrators— combining visual and verbal puns to add another layer of humor and poetry.