Taliaferro Jones

It's not often a young artist can teach a seasoned gallerist about grace and poise, but Taliaferro Jones reminded me how important these qualities are in our harried 21st century world. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Taliaferro (pronounced "Tawlevuhr") now resides in Toronto. She descends from a family of artists, and at least two generations of sculptors, although she is the first to work with leaded glass (aka crystal). Her works are shown in Europe and all over the U.S. She's an incredibly enthusiastic young newlywed and possesses a surprisingly sunny smile. I probably would too if I'd grown up in with all that art talent.

Taliaferro's work is about her environment, right now - water. She sculpts glass using traditional methods of casting with the lost wax process. The resulting work possesses a classical aspect that is both modern and reminiscent of Rodin. Because she uses leaded glass that is 46% lead, her works are also impressively translucent, allowing large amounts of light to filter through the heaviest sections of the sculptures, which, combined with her choice of colors truly imparts a watery affect. She's a photographer as well and often pairs her sculptures with her photographs. Her photographs are made with a medium format camera and printed on large sheets of archival acid-free cotton rag. The colors are intense, and on close views, there is an abstract feeling to her work as the image draws you into its colors and seeming movement. Did I also say she's a formalist? Yes, she frames her works on paper, rendering them a solid formalist finish.

An invited lecturer to the Glass Art Society shindig in Portland, as was Mark Abildgaard, Taliaferro presented a discussion about her work to a packed room (Natalia and I arrived early, said hello and found a seat!). Armed with a very slick PowerPoint presentation, she spoke about the influences of her work, interjecting with quotes from Confucius and thoughts about her aesthetic for close to an hour to a very mature and sophisticated audience. Her own personal finish was obvious.

So, what happened that was so impressive about her grace and poise? Taliaferro shipped five works to us from all over the country for our group exhibition, COLD+HOT 2008. Four arrived intact, the fifth did not. I've only had one glass sculpture break in my experience before this, and the artist's reaction was not pretty. Here, Taliaferro, assured she'd followed all the right shipping procedures for her work, reassured us that things would work out and even attempted to rework the sculpture (did I tell you she's petite and her sculptures weigh close to 100 lbs?). Wow. What else impressed me about this young woman? Well, she's one of those rare artists who fully understands the importance of her support for our efforts. As soon as the details and press was out about her place in our show, she and her family rallied all their friends (I've never known anyone to have so many family friends - literally, hundreds) to attend the preview and opening reception. It's two weeks away from our closing, and you know what? They're still coming in! Bravo and kudos to the Jones family.

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