“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.”
These quotes briefly sum up my philosophy as an artist.
I began my visual dialogue with life and art as a child. Picasso said that ‘the artist must become a child’ in order to create. As a mature artist—still evolving, I see my art as experiential and collaborative. I’ve always been a narrative artist and my work is about my experience as an African American female artist. It is very personal, yet the truths revealed are universal. I want the viewer to make a connection with their own life when they encounter my art. That is my intention as an artist. The work tells a story, but is evocative as well as provocative.
I have used the symbol of the dress with arms akimbo at times, outstretched, and at rest. The dress/garment becomes a metaphor, a vessel to be filled and entered. Collage is also part of my visual vocabulary. My interest in botanical illustration of flora and fauna, birds and insects have held a fascination for me. My 'Exotica Botanica' series has coupled the photographic images of the Omo people of the Surma, and Mursi tribes of Africa, and how they incorporate plants of their environment with self decoration. I've juxtaposed this seemingly 'natural' non western cultural practice with the practice of a European botanical illustration tradition.
Over the years there have been inspired visual dialogues with artists like Henri Matisse, Romare Bearden, Vermeer, Giovanna Garvoni, Paul Gauguin, and Betye Saar. I also have the history of art and culture as my pallet for inspiration. I use collage, mixed media, sculptural elements, site-specific installations, acrylic and oil painting as my modes of expression, ultimately mining and sharing the geography of my soul as an artist. For me there is a well-spring of imagination, inspiration and creativity.
I was born in Ann Arbor Michigan to wonderful hard working parents, Ethel May Taylor and Dempsey Taylor, Jr., now, both deceased. They indulged me where they could, and always supported their art inspired little girl. Always, their love and devotion buoyed me through adolescence, adulthood, motherhood, divorce and so much more.
As I grow older, or become younger in spirit, these life experiences become a bounty of inspiration.
Born 1948 in Ann Arbor, Michigan to Ethel Beard Taylor, mother, and father, Dempsey Taylor, Jr.
Graduated from The University of Michigan, School of Architecture and Design, BFA 1970, MFA 1972.
Continued studies at Parsons School of Design, FIT, and The Vermont Studio School.
Professor of Art Essex County College (retired after 31 years), Studio arts, Foundation studio; painting, drawing, 2-D design; Art Appreciation, Survey Art History; African American History of Art (created the course study); Adjunct Professor Bloomfield College for 10 years.
New Jersey Council on the Arts Grant, Ford Foundation Grant, Pilchuck Glass Fellowship, Mid-Atlantic States Arts Council
Vermont Studio School; Pilchuck Glass learned glass blowing, and glass etching techniques, Washington State; Valparaiso Foundation (Mojacar, Spain), University of Eastern New Mexico, Visiting Artist Lecture Series; University of Wisconsin, Visiting Artist; University of Costa Rica (sponsorship US State Department & Lafayette College, Limon, Costa Rica)
Works featured in many solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally, and private and public collections & commissions.
The Studio Museum of Harlem, NYC; Newark Museum, Newark, NJ; The Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ; Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick, NJ; Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ, The Noyes Museum, Oceanville, NJ; The Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, NJ; Schomburg Center of African American Culture, NYC; Rutgers University, NJ; The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor School of Social Work; Lafayette College, Lafayette, PA; Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Princeton, NJ; UMDNJ (University Hospital, Newark, NJ); Washington State Council on the Arts (Public Art Commission); The Peter Norton Collection; University of Eastern New Mexico; The American Consulate, Limon Costa Rica; The Valparaiso Foundation, Mojacar, Spain. University of Medicine & Dentistry, Newark, NJ; Johnson & Johnson, Skillman, NJ
Janet Taylor Pickett, The Matisse Series (catalog available) concurrent with Matisse and The Americans, Works from the collection Inspired By Matisse, October, 2016- July 5, 2017, Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ
African American Women Artists and the Power of Their Gaze, The David C Driskell Center For the Study of Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, University of Maryland, MD, March 2 – May 26, 2017
Riffs & Relations African American Artist & The European Tradition, The Phillips Collection – February 29 – May 2020