detail Revisiting the Ark

As an artist whose fidelity is to the touch, the feel, the smell, the texture -- first, before all mental considerations of what I do -- I call myself a materialist.

Memories of childhood are about:

  • The feel of a homemade quilt with percale so smooth I long to touch it still.
  • Dirt that has an aroma which will forever be welcome and recognizable to my nose.
  • The rasp of an oversize bovine tongue across a small face.

So as a visual maker it is no surprise to me that when I connect to a project, I go first to the material that will give the feel that I want the work to be about. Then the processes of intellect, order, and research are waiting to be called into the project.

My work circles around an axis of interactions. Most projects include a development phase during which I meet with community participants. Gathering the words of their experience and sometimes the work of their hands, I accept these offerings as inspiration that enriches the finished work. The finished projects are visible public artworks: some permanent, some ephemeral. But I have found that the experience of the participants sustains them -- and me -- beyond the extent of the actual exhibition.

My intent is twofold: first to lend my skills as an artist to honor undervalued sources of wisdom -- some call that "art in the public interest" -- and secondly to better understand the pride and pitfalls of new ways of collaboration.

all images are copyright © 2014 Sandra Menefee Taylor