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Photo by Scott Dressel-Martin, courtesy of the artist. 

Taiko Chandler: Thoughtful Intuition

Exhibit Dates: September 22, 2023 – January 7, 2024

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 21, 2023 at 5:30 pm

There are many ways to approach art making, all of which are influenced by an artist’s training, background, and individual mindset. For some, an outline, pre-conceived layout, or diagram of some sort is necessary to complete the work. For others, the process follows a path of intuition with no fixed outcome in mind from the start. This process can include some or all of the following: addition, pause, response, subtraction, revision, fine-tuning, etc. Much of the intuitive creative process is based on feeling, memory, or perhaps the subconscious, differing from artistic practices that rely more on structure and specific steps in order to fulfill an outlined plan, or to recreate a sketched scene. Thoughtful Intuition is a solo exhibition featuring abstract artwork by Denver-based artist Taiko Chandler. This exhibit features monoprints, paintings, and installations by Chandler, all of which were created through her incredibly thoughtful yet intuitive process.  

Taiko Chandler’s methods and her work are truly unique. Even though she possesses a natural ability to instinctually feel her way through a beautifully constructed piece from start to finish, her creation process is not without thought or cognition. Indeed, her approach is as layered as her pieces, nuanced with fragments of memories, interwoven with past and present personal events, and tied together with the strength of human bonds and a desire to share emotion and connection. Chandler does rely on conscious reasoning in her artmaking, although perhaps not in a linear form as most would anticipate. Rather, she seems to balance feeling with thought, thought with memory, and memory with desire, in a pattern that results in artwork that feels entirely precise and complete. 

This is evident in some of her larger Tyvek print installation pieces on display in the exhibit. She starts by creating organic shapes on a sheet of acrylic using a piece of mat board. As she spontaneously fills in the space a pattern emerges that is then transferred onto Tyvek using a printing press. The emotion-driven creation doesn’t stop there, as Chandler then removes negative or non-inked parts of the Tyvek that don’t suit the piece by hand-cutting hundreds of holes. The result feels symbolic of the way we might experience some of our most deep-rooted memories that can have multiple perforations or blank spots. Instead of having an exact visual picture or a structured outline of the experience, we instead recall the curve of sentiments felt in that space. We sense the wispy dappling of a beautiful light, or the dense pull of a heavy sense of loss or sorrow. Chandler recreates the feeling of memory in a way that is both tangible and intangible simultaneously. Through each step of the creation process, there is a sense of her putting things in place, not systematically, but intuitively and organically as though gravity or a force of nature is at work. 

About the Artist

Printmaking is Chandler’s primary art medium where she is driven to develop her own vocabulary. She is drawn, in particular, to its unpredictability. Chandler composes her work instinctively, combining shapes, colors, lines, and textures in order to express her imagination and react to the environment around her. The process is, therefore, both deliberate and iterative. She is constantly improvising with no fixed destination in mind. It is the open nature of the process that is constantly creating new possibilities. In addition to printmaking, she is interested in three-dimensional work, particularly installation art. Here, the work is also process driven. She is fascinated by the visual effect that occurs when responding to the material. There is an element of repetition in the construction of the finished piece. It is meditative yet compelling. The accumulation on a large scale changes the narrative and produces something that is transformative. 

Born and raised in Nagano, Japan and originally trained as nurse, Taiko lives and works in Denver, Colorado. Since taking her first art class at the Art Students League of Denver, Taiko has focused on printmaking; more recently she has begun exploring other media, including installation, to express her inner vision. Taiko’s site-responsive installation made with monoprints on Tyvek was part of the exhibition “Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence” at Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Massachusetts, (March 26 – July 16, 2023). Taiko’s work has been exhibited in Colorado (including solo exhibitions at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver Botanic Gardens) and other states, as well as numerous print fairs throughout the U.S. Her work is included in private and public collections in the U.S. and Japan, including the Cleveland Clinic Art Program, University of Colorado Denver Business school, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and the Denver Art Museum (Education Collection).