Lunch #2 with Katherine Taylor


“So how is it being back to your studio? It took me awhile to get back to the normality of my life back in Atlanta, but it’s been good. So good to see you again, Katherine.”

Katherine and I hugged as I was entering her studio with a bag of Tin Drum noodles. 

Katherine Taylor, Atlanta-based painter, and I spent a month of May at the Vermont Studio Center (VSC). While we were aware of each other’s works and presence, this residency was the first time we got to know each other as artists and friends over meals, drinks, and studio visits.

Her body of work subtly evokes an inevitable fragility of landscape, time, and memory. Collapsing landscapes, whether natural or man-made, create a haunting space that hook the viewer’s eyes and emotions deeper into her paintings. When I saw a few small studies of her ‘swimming pools,’ at VSC, I could not stopping thinking about them. I thought to myself, 'there is something deeper in that space. Katherine’s paintings want me to stay in that space…’ I wondered to myself, 'isn’t it strange that that empty space seems to hold so much, something very familiar inside of me?’

#studies #swimming pool #space #collapse
#pad woon sen noodle with chicken (thailand)  #katherine’s lunch
#sing chow men noodle (singapore)  #gyun’s lunch

I pulled out the Tin Drum noodle bowls and we immediately started talking and eating. Spending a month together at a residency where we ate together all the time, it was natural. We knew how this was supposed to roll.

Gyun Hur (GH): Katherine, this idea of 'space’ is very captivating and almost provocative in your paintings in my opinion. Could you tell me a little bit about your obsession with reconstructing this space, a sense of permanence vs. impermanence in your work?

Katherine Taylor (KT): I am obsessed with the implications of memory in perception of space, and how individual emotions and experiences may shape the way we negotiate our environments. I can see this in the landscape when permanence is desired to solidify something ever changing. I think this intersection between constructed and deconstructed spaces are human responses to controlling or accepting impermanence.


As we were almost swallowing the noodles (I was a little hungry), our conversation continued. We talked about our experiences at Vermont Studio Center, recapturing our time there that was not purely the studio-based enlightenments. We both had to acknowledge that the environment at the residency pushed our sense of privacy and social negotiations. So much of our projection of ourselves and others play a role in functioning as a being, and I had some confessions to make, and so did she. 

It was interesting to find out that Radcliffe Bailey and Katherine Taylor went to Atlanta College of Art around the same time. So did Christina Price Washington who is also a close friend and a wonderful artist I know. 

What is it about that time and environment that produced these distinctive artists that I know of? I mean, Kara Walker also went to ACA around that time, as everyone knows, and I became very curious about that time and schooling. Imagine all these artists as 20 somethings, hanging out in their classes. 

GH: We talked a lot about this idea of 'becoming an individual artist’ that was engrained in you as a young art student at Atlanta College of Art (ACA). It means that no matter what the outside force and pressure may be, that you learn to secure yourself as an artist with a drive and vision. It may mean that you become assured that you yourself have more than enough sources within you for what it takes to be an artist. What are those drive and resourse in your work?

KT: Well, it is true. I think that ACA did an amazing job of ensuring our little artist psyches were well individuated. And for myself, I spent a number of years developing my practice out of the sheer pleasure of learning more and know more, so my investment in art making was not completely solipsistic. Having said that, I return to this core awareness of puzzling over how I know what I know, since it’s so dependent on perception, especially when reality and experience are incongruent in image.

We talked for hours. Near the end of our talk, I asked Katherine about her relationship to a studio space.

GH: Your sensibility of 'space’ seems to permeate in your studio space as well. From our conversation, it almost feels like your entire studio space becomes a physical manifestation of your psyche, which then becomes incredibly private. Could you share about your relationship to your studio space and how your residency experience allowed you to redefine what that studio space means to you?

KT: Well, I had a lot of time to prepare fo my stay at VSC, so I was able to whittle down what was necessary and portable. As a result, I had to also be comfortable with this notion of leaving my actual studio behind in order to rebuild it in another place. That all sounds terribly dramatic, and it was funny for me, too, because I was consciously trying to make it an easy transition. That all being said, I suppose the “studio” for me is really a state of mind. And of course, as you mentioned, I think that is present when I am in the space. In other words, the boundaries, rigor, discipline, and respect for art making are what you carry with you.


Katherine Taylor is currently working on her next exhibition with The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) as a fellow of The Working Artist Project (WAP).

To view some of her works, go to:

Katherine Taylor

Marcia Wood Gallery

Thank you, Katherine, for making time for this project and Tin Drum Cafe for free lunches!

Next lunch is with Namwon Choi, a 3rd year MFA candidate at Georgia State University. Stay tuned!

- Gyun