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).
Opening in February:
Joe Wallace, Rene Perkins, 2021; ink on paper, 28 x 35 1/4 inches (framed, approximate); Courtesy of the artist.
Portraits of Dementia
Exhibit Dates: February 9 – April 28, 2024
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 5:30 pm
In 2022, over fifty million people are living with dementia globally. In the United States, one in three seniors suffers with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia at the time of their death. And yet despite the millions of individuals and families affected, dementia is often a taboo subject with limited public awareness or discourse. A diagnosis can become a mechanism for segregating those affected from society, making it easy to see only the label instead of the individual.
“…be joyful in every moment, because you might not have another one. If you just go to the grocery store, you can be kind to anybody you meet, and that could change their day.” – Bama Bradley, diagnosed with dementia
The typical narrative about dementia tends to focus on the clinical diagnosis or medical status of an individual, and is all too often depicted using fear, despair, and vulnerability. This narrow and incomplete view of dementia quickly becomes a powerful means to distance oneself from their humanity. Portraits of Dementia destigmatizes those living with dementia through moving portraits and stories of lives well lived.
“It is my hope that my story and the stories of others just like me will start a conversation and end the stigma that comes along with this disease. Just maybe I can bring a new face to Alzheimer’s so people know that it can happen to anybody, not just the elderly.” – Carrie Salter-Richardson, diagnosed with dementia
Trained as a journalist, artist Joe Wallace has been a portrait photographer and storyteller for twenty years. Like many, Wallace has a deeply personal connection with dementia. His maternal grandfather and hero, Joe Jenkins, had Alzheimer’s. His maternal grandmother had vascular dementia. And in recent years, his mother has begun her journey with the disease. Wallace was frustrated by the common, one-dimensional narrative of dementia—futility, despair, and loss. These are real and important elements of the dementia journey, but focusing only on the narrowest of views, very little is done to change the stigma of those living with the disease. Wallace feels strongly that to give the audience courage to act in ways large and small, you must show the whole story.
Wallace shows not only the fear, loss, and despair, but also the love, connection, dignity, and powerful humanity that always remain—in the subjects, in the care- partners, and in the families and communities. That is the only path to evolve the narrative and have a positive social change.
People living with dementia must be seen as people first, not as their disease. Public recognition of the enduring humanity of those who live with disabilities, including cognitive disabilities, will decrease fear and stigma. … Joe’s vivid photographs remind us of our shared humanity as well as the uniqueness of each person. -Beth Soltzberg, Director, Alzheimer’s/Related Disorders Family Support Program, Jewish Family & Children’s Service
This exhibition provides opportunities for rich programming and community engagement. Dementia impacts the lives of many people and this exhibition serves as a catalyst for community storytelling, learning, and healing. Artist Joe Wallace continues to add to this project and upon hosting Portraits of Dementia, could be contacted to collect more stories and portraits from your community. Additionally, this exhibition provides each hosting venue with the opportunity to foster new community partnerships. Special tours could be held for those with dementia and their caregivers. There is a powerful opportunity for local connection and collaboration with Alzheimer’s support groups, caregiver support and training, and councils on aging. Wallace has presented the work at university programs for social work and gerontology. Local libraries and agencies could work to archive community stories and photographs. Each booking will come with contact information for the artist, as well as a guide with ample programming resources.