FROM KOLAJ 28
Janet Taylor Pickett
“Collage is also part of my visual vocabulary,” writes Janet Taylor Pickett. “My interest in botanical illustration of flora and fauna, birds and insects have held a fascination for me.” That interest culminates in a body of work the artist calls “Exotica Botanica” series. The Joyful Hope of Possibilities shows a face painted woman in a floral headdress venerated by stars and flowers. The collages in the series seek to reclaim images of Black beauty from a colonial or imperial gaze that trivializes, infantilizes, and exoticizes African experience and culture.
The Surma and Mursi Tribes use their love of nature for their highly individual body decoration, using the ephemeral flora and fauna of the surrounding environment to juxtapose the traditional (European gaze) and standard of beauty with the ownership of their own Black beauty.
Janet Taylor Pickett holds both a BFA and an MFA from the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Michigan, with continued studies at Parsons School of Design, Fashion Institute of Technology, and the Vermont Studio School. She was a Professor of Art at Essex County College in New Jersey for 31 years, where she created the course study for African American History of Art. She was an Adjunct Professor at Bloomfield College, also in New Jersey, for 10 years. She was awarded grants from the New Jersey Council on the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the Mid-Atlantic States Arts Council, as well as receiving a Pilchuk Glass Fellowship. Her work has been shown in solo and group shows in the U.S. and overseas and her work is held in many private and public collections. From February-May 2020, her work will be shown at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC in “Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition”, curated by Adrienne Childs, Ph.D. From 20 June-27 July 2020, she is featured in exhibition with Michael Wilson at Stella Jones Gallery in New Orleans. Learn more about the artist at www.janettaylorpickett.com.