GALLERY: Artist Spotlight on Stephanie Taylor

When Stephanie Taylor, a senior studio arts and art history major, received a $3,500 Brackenridge research grant this summer, she wasn’t focused on making new art. She wanted to rework what already existed.

“I did summer research and I am currently trying to make sense of it,” Taylor said. “The work is about reusing imagery to make something else out of the initial imagery.

Taylor, who usually paints portraits to make money, focuses on printmaking and screen printing in classes, exploring how multiples can interact with each other.

“Usually, I take what’s there and I push it forward. And I try to enhance the mood with color and shading,” she said.

During her time at Pitt, Taylor’s art has been featured in the Spring 2015 Studio Arts Student Exhibition, this spring’s Physics Artist in Residency Award Program (where she made art that reacted to the physics department’s research) and the Studio Arts Summer 2016 Creative Research Exhibition. In its first Artist Spotlight, The Pitt News asked Taylor to talk about the inspiration behind her latest work.

To look at Taylor’s work and read about it, click the first photo to open up a captioned slide show.

“Lisa and Dennis”: A recreation of a portrait taken on the couple’s 30th wedding anniversary. The husband in the painting, Dennis, gave Taylor a tiny picture that was taken outside on the night of their wedding. Taylor isolated their faces and made the background out of focus like a gradient of dark colors. By blurring out background details, she wanted to focus in on the figures. more
“Bob”: When live models sit for too long, they get bored, Taylor said, so she honed in on that in this portrait of a man named Bob. Created in a figure painting class at Pitt, Taylor said she purposefully painted a dark background to invite the viewer to focus on Bob’s sleepiness and the wrinkles on his face. more
“Work in Progress”: This summer, Taylor visited Wyoming and found a fraying twig — once part of a sage bush — on the side of road. Finding the twig’s shape interesting, she traced it on paper and tried to think of different ways to represent the small piece of nature.more
“Work in Progress” continued: She created the end result, a rabbit, through screen printing. After tracing the image, Taylor pulled ink through a mesh screen, keeping the original drawing the same while changing the colors and the image’s positioning on the paper. Taylor said she was playing with how changing the colors that you use in the same templates can change and create a different image. This screen print is still a work in progress. more
“Death of Icarus”: The meaning of an image comes from choices the artist makes, according to Taylor. The work’s title or the colors used in a piece could alter the way a viewer perceives an image’s meaning. In this series of screen prints, Taylor started with the template of feathers and challenged herself to find a different way to interpret them. At first, Taylor imagined death as a fade to black — the former “Death of Icarus.” more
“Fall of Icarus”: Later, she remembered that some visualize death as a flash of light, so she reprinted the feathers in yellow…more
“Fall of Icarus”: …and then an almost-invisible white. more
“Big Bird’s Love Nest”: Finally, she wanted to see how changing a work’s title could reframe how viewers interpret it, so she called her fourth screen print — the one with bright yellow feathers — “Big Bird’s Love Nest.” more

 

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