Truth be told, I’ve been looking for months for an artist like Taylor Thomas. She is the type of artist that creates powerful, beautiful, raw and emotive abstract artwork but her work is anything but random. Just reading the titles of her stunning paintings tell you this, even if you’ve never met her and know nothing about her work. Titles like Draw Me Kindly, Lie Still Trusting and Building and Breaking Bridges inform you that Taylor is fully conscious and aware as her brushstrokes hit the canvas. A move towards abstraction has provided Taylor the freedom and opportunity to challenge herself through the uncertainty of non-represenational, non-literal art. I imagine she experiences both liberation and vulnerability when she paints. Her creative process provides her a vehicle to ask herself questions, some deeply personal, and to push herself. Her biggest hope when she paints is that she can give life, or in her words “breath” to her concepts, ideas and points of view and that viewers can do the same in their own ways, with their own interpretations.
Taylor’s consciousness extends beyond painting. Through art, she strives to have a bigger, positive and meaningful social impact. Take, for example, her participation in an arts project in Charlotte, North Carolina, to raise awareness and money for communities in Western Rwanda. Forty-one local lower-school students recently participated in a workshop that challenged them to create artwork inspired by Rwandan artifacts. Each student’s creation was then sent to a professional artist who subsequently created their own pieces in response to the children’s work. According to Taylor, “It was moving. It was jarring. It was, and is, beautiful to see the comparison of works.” An upcoming exhibition at Warehouse 242 Gallery will open on November 13, 2014. Works from the students and artists will be displayed side-by-side.
When Taylor saw student Ethan’s drawing, she had this to say:
“I was overcome by the innocent, sheer honesty of his work. The words, “arrest me” repeated in my head as I began approaching my own responsive piece. I allowed myself to contemplate the meaning behind his words, and to follow the rawness of his wiry lines and bold, child-chosen colors. My piece is a glimpse into how Ethan’s work did arrest me, and also an embodiment of the many dimensions of the word “arrest,” as an action and a condition. My hope is that amidst the turmoil and confinement in their suffering, the people of Rwanda would know hope—just as bold pops of color breathe life into dark places. As for us: I pray these sorts of stories would always jolt and arrest us into action, that we would give our brothers and sisters abroad a rest and an aid in their trying.”
To see more of Taylor’s work and to purchase any of her pieces through our online gallery, click here.