Sunny Taylor: The Objecthood of Painting

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Sunny Taylor‘s website explains, “In her work, she is re-engaging painting’s geometric tradition, positioning herself within a network of influences who explored the “objecthood” of painting, as well as the surface’s potential for formal expression. Her works embody a built, almost sculptural aesthetic, with strong ties to architectural influences. Her compositions and patterns develop through meticulous, labor-intensive processes and spontaneous interactions with paint, color, texture and meaning.”

Taylor received a BFA from BYU and an MFA from The Ohio State University. She taught as an assistant professor from 2008-14 in the Studio Arts program of BYU and now lives and paints with her family in Utah.

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Sunny Taylor

How do you conceptualize your shapes, colors, and designs. Do you do color studies? Sketches? All of the above.  I sketch patterns and forms often, and always in black and white.  Color is so difficult.  With most works, I begin conceptualizing color by compiling a rough color study sketch of my intended painting in photoshop.  Then, I begin to paint.  The painting NEVER turns out like the sketch, and at a certain point in the process, I stop referring to my sketches, and begin struggling with the paint and the painting itself. That’s where the real gratification comes for me.  The process of painting can be so amazingly challenging.  I use my sketches and studies to get me started basically, and then during the process of painting, color changes, surface texture builds, edges develop, and patterns and shapes move and change in order to “resolve” the image.  Towards the end of the process, I spend a lot of time just staring at the painting.  I stare, I turn it upside down – I experiment with cropping out edges and shapes – then I stare some more.  I know the painting is finally complete when nothing leaves me feeling uneasy.  It just feels “right”.

What is next for you and your art? I will be showing a couple of paintings in a group show at the Rio Gallery in Salt Lake City this July.  The show is about “Clothing.”  The work I’m making for the show is killing me!  I decided to make some paintings that have a really intricate fabric weave pattern, with the thought that the tedious and repetitive process would help me to understand and empathize with the countless individuals throughout the world who work in factories in the clothing industry.  These paintings have been mind-numbing and physically exhausting.  Although I will never understand what its like to perform tedious and repetitive tasks, day in and day out, for years — I do know now what it is like to do so for at least several weeks.  I can empathize to a degree with those individuals behind the scenes of our garment production, and I appreciate them and my clothing much more than before. – I look forward to this show.  It will be with several of my good friends and colleagues from BYU.

Visit Sunny Taylor’s website.

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