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Dangerous Beauty: Cacti and Succulents

By Cati Demme

In her current exhibit, Suzy Taylor continues to surprise and delight us! As is true of all great artists, she continues to experiment with both her subject matter and her technique with stunning results. Should you not yet be familiar with Suzy Taylor´s work, it is compelling to know about and appreciate her artistic background, both academically and career-wise. Her “formal” schooling began at the University of Cincinnati and its renowned College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, known as DAAP. Upon graduating from DAAP, Taylor´s design career began as an interior designer, working with home furnishings, magazines, and advertising (she now designs chairs, sofas, tables, and lamps which can be found in the Arroyo Gallery). As a photo stylist, she worked with now-retired Japanese photographer Toshi Otsuki, who was known as a purist when it came to working with as much natural light as possible. Working with Otsuki helped Taylor to develop a heightened awareness of the eminence of light. Through the cropping process she also developed a super sensitivity to composition—while arranging all the elements to create the perfect balance. These two skills can be seen in Taylor´s work today: her unsurpassed use of light and composition.

Art Opening
“Dangerous Beauty: Cacti and Succulents”
Work by Suzy Taylor
Fri, Aug 11, 5–7pm
Arroyo Gallery
Rinconada de la Aldea 27, Centro

She says, “I paint what I see. The joy is in the seeing (i.e. the subject), and I try to capture that (i.e. the joy) in my work.” Her goal is to transmit and share her personal experience as the viewer; she is able to accomplish this through her soft focus technique resulting in an intimate and personal connection with the viewer.

Renowned for her giant close-ups of flowers presented in a soft focus technique, Taylor now presents us with the contrasting forms of cacti and their sharp, dangerous thorns. As her exquisite flowers seem to evanesce into luminous light, her cacti and succulent forms now seem to emerge from the light. She successfully investigates the solid forms burgeoning beneath the surfaces of the cacti and all their appendages; from the “pads,” to the “areoles,” to the thorns, to the fruit, to the flowers, thus resulting in a more dramatic effect, verging on the abstract. In addition to a change in format, Taylor is also beginning to change her palette to a lighter-toned pastel range, causing subtle shift of hues across the surface. The effect is spectacular! The artist invites your eye to travel across the composition savoring the subtleties between both the subject and the background, creating simultaneously an evocative and contemplative experience for the viewer …  one might even say, “for the participant,” as one is drawn into the canvas.

Her work can be experienced at the Arroyo Gallery, from 11am–5pm, Thursday through Saturday, by appointment by calling 152 5213 or contact by email at


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