I see a correlation between the notion of diversity and abstract artwork. Diversity, at its core, is about difference and about the understanding of difference, respect for difference, the appreciation of difference and the benefits of difference. Abstract artwork is, by its nature, diverse and does not dictate explicity to its viewer what it is. As such, it enables the viewer to extract her or his own interpretation. Some will be moved, some may be left cold. Some will be certain in their explanation and find meaning, others will see nothing. Some will generate the most profound, intellectual concepts whereas others will stop at an aesthetic appreciation of color and form. Abstract artwork generates a cognitive, perceptual and emotional chain reaction in its viewers.

In her series The Chase, Taylor Thomas has provided her viewers with ample room for diverse opinion, thought, reflection, debate and discussion. The series, like any great body of work, is held together with some common threads, while each pieces has it’s own individual identity.  This is certainly true of Shepherd Strings, which we feature today. In her poem of the same name, Thomas throws us some breadcrumbs so we can piece together the beginnings of a trail as to the evolution of this piece. She tees us up with just enough information to get our neurons firing. The combination of words and image are the perfect platform for us to retire to our favorite chair, stare out of the window and contemplate our lives, our direction, our faith and what grounds us.

Shepherd Strings by Taylor Thomas

Hem me in,
behind and before. It is too late,

and I stare blankly, like I am going
to get somewhere by painting
with my eyes. Sheer white washes
collect, however; small
drops from bucket to bristles

to canvas. I am expanding
forms, recalling the way
that blankets billow
as they grip the wind
and smear the sky.

I am the wide shape-
shifting blues–how they run
away and after,
[nearly] dissipating, as they do.

Thank God for lines
that reel us, raw
and crisp as they disrupt, but
always perfect. They are always
predicting where to linger

just enough.
To keep
an eye on moving masses:
a nightlight for the lost.

Shepherd Strings (2014), mixed media on canvas, 60″ x 48″