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Mind of the Artist: Part XXIII: Sandy Tallant

January 3, 2018

Sandy Tallant is an artist that enjoys the freedom in expression, regardless of medium, and finds a way to create her art in a stimulating and from as much outside inspiration as posisble. Her context and continuation of rudimentary artistic design principles lends itself to masterful compositions. Sandy's use of form, line, texture, and color are beautifully compiled to create works of art that make you want to reach out and feel it for yourself! We have been lucky to experience Sandy's are multiple times in the CHAW gallery, and are extra excited to be featuring her as the January Artist of the Month. 

Artists create an interpreted, tangible record of the color, line, texture, and composition that surrounds us. For me, this began at an early age.  In elementary school in Northwest Ohio my favorite subject was art. I was thrilled when my painting was chosen in the school-wide competition to hang in the principal’s office.  My sister and I made greeting cards, printed our Christmas wrapping on butcher paper with carved potatoes, and decoupage cigar boxes at the kitchen table. In after-school and summer vacation art classes at the Toledo Museum of Art I learned to draw, smear tempera paint on newsprint, and collage.

At Virginia Commonwealth University I engaged in a more formal study through their Art Foundations Program. In the Department of Interior Design I learned the principles of composition and design, color theory, and drawing the human figure. In summer ceramic classes at Bowling Green State University I explored sculpture through the elasticity of clay, and applied colorful glazes.  I also learned the lesson of failed firing.  I graduated from Louisiana State University in Landscape Architecture with an understanding of complex systems, construction of two and three dimensional representations, renderings, and model building.

After a 30-year career as an Urban Planner, I now have the time to focus on my art just as much as I did many years ago. I consciously work in varied mediums and in a range of styles: I use fast drying acrylic paints, translucent watercolor washes, soft and oil pastels, messy charcoal, fine-tipped pencils, and ink to create my drawings, paintings, and collages on canvas and paper.

My drawings created with text are derived from words that stir my emotion and memory.  I write it over and over, to create tone, texture, and composition with variations in line weight, size, color, and layering.  Much as writers deploy words in sentences and paragraphs to tell a story, my layering of words enables me to visualize a story and its meaning. Both use text that is transformed by imagination and unique life experiences.  My pieces are influenced by places, relationships, and experiences; and sometimes as memorials to the living and the lost.

My acrylic paintings on paper and canvas are less structured.  The freedom of this medium allows me to let loose and create a variety of abstract images.  In these works I need not document reality and can allow whatever inspires me at that moment, whether it is music, visual stimulus, aroma, color, or emotion, to direct the work.  I start by choosing - almost at random - a textured or colored background; a water-sprayed wash; or wavy textured line work.  From there, I apply bold colored shapes, transparent washes, stencil and transfer work, fine pencil and ink marks.  The work evolves through emotion and response in that moment rather than the interpretation of a memory or experience.

My collages on paper and canvas are small and large scale abstractions of natural systems. Nature itself is a collaboration of its many elements.  Both words - collage and collaboration - are derived from the Greek root Kolla and imbue the work with a sense of metaphor.   Collage parallels the complex collaboration required in nature.  Varied elements of drawing, writing, painting, printed matter, cloth are brought together with the cutting and pasting of textured and colored rice papers to represent the myriad elements of nature and depict the underlying collaboration. The result is blue skies, golden sunlight, soaring butterflies, crawling bugs, flowers, birds and animals, trees and leaves, oxygen and atoms, minerals and crystals. These elements, together, represent vast landscapes and micro environments. Collage is my preferred medium to portray nature and the underlying collaboration is disparate elements.

I continue to explore new techniques, materials, and medium by working with other artist in an academic studio setting.  I continue to find inspiration through travel and museum visits around the world. I have a home studio on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. My work can be found in private collections in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Arlington and Reston Virginia; Bethesda and Greenbelt, Maryland; and Washington, DC.

Come see the next CHAL exhibit, Artists Choice, opening January 13th, 5:00-7:00pm