20 THE RIVER MAGAZINE | Spring 2019 | C U L T U R E | A long a connecting road in Lambeth, behind the large door of a double fronted Georgian townhouse and at the far end of an untamed garden, is the studio of David Taborn. Taborn’s pedigree is indisputable. The title of his 1991 seminal painting ‘Factual Nonsense’was used by the late Joshua Compston as the name of the gallery he opened in Shoreditch, at the heart of the art scene around which the Young British Artists (Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Gavin Turk etc) were busy making waves and headlines. Compston, whose family were already collectors of Taborn’s work, also held a series of ‘happenings’including “A Fete Worse Than Death”in Hoxton, east London. Taborn, completed his post-graduate from the Slade School of Fine Art in 1972, working and exhibiting around the country since then. By the time the YBA graduates were putting on their “Freeze”shows in London warehouses, Taborn’s style and output had matured into canvases full of explosive colour, form and material. Paint is dripped, poured and brushed with an apparent rapid randomness; the energy and aesthetics are vibrant and thrilling, while each of the finished pieces maintains a rigorous level of control and resolution. As we browse the studio the conversation occasionally touches on work materials and processes but more often he shares irreverent anecdotes from a diverse life. Observations about relationships, recollections of events, the turns and twists of fate that steered him this way or that. My own life is not out of bounds either. Taborn is not so self-obsessed that his work, his life, must be front and centre stage. Nor is he a ‘bourgeoisie’, he is not establishment. He has not become a ‘brand’, controlled, packaged and sold. He does not take anything too seriously. He is as fascinated by my life, my successes and failings, as he is about his own. This is the egalitarian stuff of his work; the humour, the absurd, the childish, the unpretentious. The marks he makes with pen, pencil, brush or anything else for that matter, may not capture a photographic resemblance of reality but they are real emotional responses to life and memory, executed with a craftsman’s skill. The work has power, impact and substance. Marks are at times fast and guttural, vivid and hurtling in all directions, while other elements on separate planes and depths within the layers of work, are meticulous, detailed and refined. While I browse the wall of books Taborn calls his ‘Dado Rail of Delusion’, each of which he has re-fashioned into a statement, frequently witty or dangerously close to the knuckle of political correctness, homemade pizza and beer are brought in. Eating in the middle of the room, the slices WE NEVER REALLY KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON BEHIND THE FACADE OF A HOUSE, BEHIND THE FRONT DOOR. DO WE REALLY KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON BEHIND ANYONE’S EYES, OR WHAT IS UNRAVELLING IN OUR DREAMS? “CANVASES F U L L O F E X P L O S I V E C O L O U R , FORM AND MATERIAL”