edited by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
Taylor Barnes first got involved with Spiderweb through her friends Courtney, Joe, and Amanda years ago. Taylor was impressed by Joe’s artwork and by Courtney, who “just kills it at everything she does.” She attended several showcases and loved being there to support local artists, buy zines, and mingle with friends new and old. “Seeing Spiderweb grow has been amazing to see, and I can feel the hard work that is put into its growth,” Taylor says.
You work in various mediums from ceramics to textiles. How do you decide which medium will best translate the idea you’re hoping to get across?
I decide based off of which medium can translate what I’m wanting to express. Many times, the 3D forms (clay and fibers together) will inform the 2D works on cloth and vice versa. So in deciding which medium to use, I don’t overthink it. Whichever translates either the idea, the emotion, or how I want the viewer to interact with those points of connection usually helps with deciding the medium.
Do you have a current favorite medium in which to work?
I think it’s obvious at this point of my making that I am obsessed with charcoal. This material is so expressive and creates beautiful texture on the cloth. Its ability to be buildable, creating these extremely black voids on the cloth, I absolutely love, and that connects to my concept. I believe it has the ability to make the viewer, and of course myself, wonder and discover with the variety of application I use and its purpose.
What subjects interest you most?
My work deals with identity, specifically personal experiences as an African American woman in America: the different experiences that we encounter trying to simply exist in the world, the triumphs and struggles, our dispositions, and how we navigate. Making connections to the past and the present is a stepping-stone in my work to help balance fact, reality, and unarguable truths.
What have been some of the most rewarding experiences you've had as an artist?
Being able to truly express myself through my work, and finding the people who want to be an ally and listen. When I have work shown in spaces, being able to have someone approach the work and have some sort of connection is all I want; right or “wrong” is still a connection I really appreciate. Simply the fact that you looked, acknowledged it, felt something, or want to learn to understand its meaning.
Who are some of your influences?
Right now, I am extremely influenced by Bell Hooks’ writing. She says everything I haven’t had the ability to put into words, whether that is experiences I have as a black women or experiences I will encounter and how to maintain sense of self through them.
Any upcoming shows or projects you'd like to share?
I have work being shown now at Erin Cluley Gallery *Summer 2018* show that runs until August 18th.
Taylor Barnes, is a Fibers MFA candidate at the University of North Texas. She works with concepts dealing with identity and displacement. Sharing moments and revealing personal experiences, and challenging them with critical rhetoric, all inform Taylor’s practice. Her work is comprised of mixed media, working with natural materials and works on cloth to create 2D and 3D works.
If you’d like your work to be featured by Spiderweb Salon, send us your work through our submissions page.