|The Future Is Bright|
|These Are Barren Times|
|Our Collective Existential Crisis|
|The Taste of Fleeting Success|
|Black Bear Thoughts|
By Tom Wachunas
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven… - Ecclesiastes 3:1
“I create narratives using personal experience combined with animal interactions and semiotics…I strive to reveal human realities by exposing both the light and shadow parts of life…” -Taylor Robenalt
EXHIBIT: SYMBOLIC NARRATIVE: CERAMICS BY TAYLOR ROBENALT / at The Canton Museum of Art (CMA), 1001 Market Avenue N. / THROUGH AUGUST 2, 2020 / Hours: Tuesdays-Fridays 10a.m. to 4p.m. / FREE ADMISSION THROUGH AUG.2 / 330.453.7666 / visitors should pre-schedule their viewing time and reserve tickets at
From Merriam-Webster, definition of semiotics: a general philosophical theory of signs and symbols that deals especially with their function in both artificially constructed and natural languages and comprises syntactics, semantics, and pragmatics.
Though I’m fairly certain that this exhibit was planned well before the onset of the Covid crisis, it nevertheless resonates with our time - this protracted season of intense societal flux. We’re living in a complicated, dystopian era, poised at a volatile nexus of viral anguish and consuming desire for healing and redemption.
Taylot Robenalt is a storyteller. Viewed collectively, her porcelain objects are a compelling sculptural treatise on the human experience of life’s dichotomies, life’s challenging dualities. Her exquisitely crafted pieces merge figure, flora, and fauna into intriguing metaphors. These are codified narratives – symbols, totems, shrines, memorials. They’re emotive reflections on embracing the human spirit - at once fragile and robust, vulnerable and indomitable - as it navigates all manner of existential circumstances.
To be fully alive is to be touched by the inevitability of cycles, of change - to experience a journey into light, into darkness, and back again. There are stories here rendered in the dulled colors of mourning, of corruptibility and mortality, such as These Are Barren Times, or Our Collective Existential Crisis.
There are also brighter episodes of purity, or hope, or joy, such as in A Summer Breeze and a Golden Necklace. Yet, look closely at the woman’s face (the artist’s self-portrait?). She appears about to cry. Is her golden crown on the verge of falling off? Even the graceful white swan looks like it’s snarling, as if to say this moment won’t last. Likewise, in The Future is Bright, there’s still an abiding sense of the temporary, of precarious balancing. The woman’s expression is subtly serious, even stern, locked in concentrated determination to savor all that delicate, beautiful fertility atop her head before it becomes...what? And so it goes, this circle, this yin and yang of being.
Through all their intricate forms, sumptuous textures, and lustrous hues, Robenalt’s porcelain musings exude a strange charm, unsettling and disarming at the same time. Here are eloquent parables about the eternally changeable seasons of being alive.