Walk Like Me, Wild Things, and Set the Bar (in Purple and Green), are selections from my painting series that investigates identity. The abstractions require my whole body and mind—both inextricably tied and expressed through visual image. Using acrylic, oil paint, and pastels, I produce traces of physical and mental movements. A performance of my identity occurs as I sprawl materials onto canvas and remove taped forms from beneath them. These acts of repeating gestures and selectively covering or extracting them with paint serve as an allusion to the way in which individuals can construct, tweak, and mask their identities in our contemporary world. How many images does it take to form a person? How many reoccurring behaviors are required to feel as though you are known? Alongside these questions of gesture based self-hood, the works confront systems of control that are equally at play in shaping individuals. Everyday, there exist mental, cultural, spiritual, and political contexts that seep into one’s definition of self. In the same way, tubed lines frame my canvases, rigid bars jut in front of strokes, and layers of color hide unraveling curves. These plastic methods toy with my human marks, sometimes disrupting them and other times coexisting. Ultimately, these works push toward the relentless establishment and freedom of self, but not without acknowledging the influences that weight our process: the tension beneath our expressions, the structure behind our play, and the bars through which we push.
Taylor O. Thomas was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and now works as a visual artist in Tampa, Florida. Her abstract paintings have been exhibited in galleries and private collections in the U.S., China, and Italy. In 2012, Thomas graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College with a BA in Studio Art, and has since used painting as a means of investigating human connection and the relationship between body and mind. Thomas is currently a MFA Candidate at the University of South Florida with the support of a University Graduate Fellowship. Her works are represented by The Road Gallery (NY), Rachel Nash Gallery (TX), and Nomad Collective (TN).