Taylor Winn, a 2011 graduate, said he may never again utilize the ceramics skills he built while working toward his degree in studio art, but he will continue to pursue painting large abstract expressionist pieces, a field he neglected to study while at UT.
Nine large pieces painted by Winn, measuring up to 7 feet by 14 feet in size, will be featured in the FAB Gallery, a student run space in the Fine Arts Building designated to feature student, faculty and alumni work, until Dec. 16. Taylor said Thursday night he didn’t think UT would have allowed him to express himself fully at the exhibit’s opening.
“The reason I didn’t study painting at UT is because I didn’t believe they would let me do large pieces,” Winn said. “I feel really restricted by small pieces. If I stretch a 3-by-3 I feel really constricted. It’s really gestural what I do. With a small piece I can’t really make long movements.”
Winn uses long movements with a stick coated in metallic paint to make twists, turns and designs that stretch the length and width of the works on top of layers of paint poured directly onto large expanses of canvas. Inspired by the work of Jackson Pollock, they retain the distinct traits of Winn’s personal style that has developed since he began painting large works in 2005 after initial encouragement by a high school art teacher.
“In the beginning, I looked at a lot of Jackson Pollock’s work,” Winn said. “Over time as I made my own paintings I’ve developed my own style. I’ve found things I like to do and techniques I don’t like.”
Winn said the majority of painting a work is complete within 15-20 minutes, although each piece contains between 10 and 15 gallons of paint. Winn said he uses refurbished paint, which is paint that was deemed unacceptable by consumers and brought back to retailers for resale at a discounted price.
He said this allows him to use unusual colors in his work that he might otherwise overlook. Occasionally, refurbished paint is cast off because it’s chemical composition is wrong, which can backfire, Winn said.
Winn’s paintings typically take over a month to dry, but his parents have been very supportive in allowing him to utilize their garage to create and store over 200 pieces of work, he said.
“My parents have really let me destroy the garage,” Winn said. “There’s paint everywhere really.”
Winn’s mother, Elizabeth Winn, who helps her son stretch his canvases said she disagreed.
“It’s not torn apart,” Elizabeth Winn said. “It’s just been re-characterized and re-purposed. It’s a cool space to look at. Obviously there’s paint everywhere. There’s shelves and shelves of buckets of paint and giant canvases torn up and stretched out. It’s a wonderful space.”
The space also contains hundreds of huge concrete mixing tubes that store the pieces, Winn said. The pieces are stored carefully until Winn shows them at galleries or sells them, he said. Moving the work for a show or sale is a monumental task, Winn said.
“We have to rent a huge 24-foot truck,” Winn said. “You can’t even fit them in the back of a pick-up truck. Some can weigh as much as 200 pounds.”
Despite the transportation difficulties, the largeness of the art appealed to realtor John Kovas, who attended the gallery.
“I’m very impressed by it,” Kovas said. “A lot of times I see art like this and I just shake my head, and say ‘Why did they even bother?’ but not this time. I would have it in my home.”