Taylor RobenaltSarasota, FL

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident (AIA) 2018

Ms. Robenalt attended Southern Methodist University for her BFA in bronze casting and stone carving. She then discovered her love for ceramics and decided to study at the University of South Florida to receive a post baccalaureate. Then she received a graduate assistantship at the University of Georgia where Ms. Robenalt accomplished her MFA in ceramics in May 2011. She is currently employed by Ringling College of Art and Design and has taught at State College of Florida, Auburn University and Columbus State University as an adjunct ceramic professor. Ms. Robenalt was a long-term artist resident at Odyssey Clayworks. She is also the co-founder of a sculpture collective called Ceramic Sculpture Culture Collective. She has participated in many national ceramic shows, such as “Un-wedged”, “Vision in Clay” “History In The Making”, recently winning an honorable mention award at “De La Naturalaza” and “ Wild and Wooly Creatures” at CraftArt. In March, Taylor will be gave a panel at NCECA as well as curating a show. She will co-teach a workshop this summer at Penland School of Crafts. Taylor has received many scholarships including tuition waivers to Monte Verde, Costa Rica, Cortona, Italy, Tokoname, Japan, Watershed, Maine, Penland, North Carolina and Red Lodge, Montana.

Art has been an obsession of mine since I was a little girl. It allows me an outlet to represent a part of me that I have a hard time putting into words – therefore, I create. Making art has become an intuitive and reactionary process. I often start with a loose image of what I want to create, but I’ve learned to allow space for freedom to respond to materials and form during the production of the work. I use human forms, flora and fauna because these three motifs allow me a direct way to illustrate certain emotions. I use clay as my medium because it offers an immediate way to work with form, volume and surface.

My new body of work features clusters of animals and flowers constructed out of porcelain with glaze, gold luster and underglaze applications. In these pieces, the animal heads appear to be bursting out of a heavy cluster of flowers. With each piece created in the series, the flower clusters become more abundant and ornate, and the animals seem to multiply as if the work itself is alive and fertile. The overall black and white color scheme and the pops of color in the pieces are all important to the work. These color motifs attempt to express all the emotions that I personally face on a daily basis. The coloring of the entire body of work is a comment on how life can become so rigid in the midst of the fluidity of growth, death and rebirth. The bright colors of the flowers illustrate the blossoming of life and offer a contrast to the rigidity of everyday responsibility. The final touches of gold luster offer an overall sense of purity to the body of work and allude to the strong sense of achievement and pride that comes with positively facing life on a day-to-day basis. I view the work as a metaphor for how life is always transforming itself – constantly bringing forth a new chapter of unforeseen existence.

The images I use in my work, especially the repetition of specific animals, have started to take on a more personal meaning in the work. These animals are daily occurrence such as the rabbit, dog and bird. Each animal has a specific meaning to me that relate to an emotional narrative: the dog represents loyalty and unconditional love, the bird represents vibrancy and freedom and the bunny represents shyness and reclusiveness. The flowers represent the purest form of growth from a plant and that idea of purity is why the flowers appear so heavily in my work. The final touch of my personality in this body of work is represented by the appearance of the hand. The self-awareness represented by my hand making another hand allows me to express all of these emotions in this work. Overall I foresee this work becoming quite large in scale to start pushing the idea of all the emotions I feel in a day being explored through form.