Thursday, September 3, 2015


©2015 RavennaTaylor, "Continuance," photopolymer relief print, collage, 6 x 10 inches


I hear the hollow drill
of the Pileated Woodpecker;
unwinding almost visibly, a ribbon of rattle
snagged in a maze of trees.

Tied up in knots
I practice ordered tangles,
drawing them from diagrams
while blindly feeling for my fid.

A species of tiny birds depends
on inborn facilities:
weaving grassblades, tying knots.
Unlike us, they need not teach one another.

I guess I might have figured out
how to tie a knot, if
my father hadn't shown me
I would've thought I'd invented it.

image and text ©2015 Ravenna Taylor

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

"Heat Waves" was on view in "Going Big," LES, Manhattan

 ©Ravenna Taylor, "Heat Waves," 2014, oil on linen over wood, 9 x 9 inches

My painting, "Heat Waves," pictured above, was included in a large show of small works, thanks to artist/curators Suzan Shutan and Susan Carr.

The curators jumped on an opportunity to lease exhibition space for the month of August, and to make an exhibition by selecting artists from their wide circle of artist colleagues, a community mutually constructed by thousands of artists who meet online via Facebook. As a result of these connections, many interesting conversations and leaps of faith have been made, and friendships that are sometimes entirely online, sometimes face-to-face. It has changed the dynamic for contemporary art in a way all artists seem to agree is for the better, and Susan Carr and Suzan Shutan have made this show to celebrate that. With 111 artists contributing works of 12 inches or less, the costs were distributed; and although it might seem like a vast show, it was merely a corner broken from the edge of an important online community. 

The invitation to exhibit occurred just as I'd been thinking of doing such a thing myself, to celebrate my birthday this year, and to celebrate the connections which I value so highly. But I immediately realized I couldn't pull that off, and didn't really want to -- it is too fraught, to have to choose some people and leave out others.

The 111 assembled works represent a small proportion of our online artistic community. But I want to say explicitly: Those artists who are not featured in this show, who have not contributed works or volunteer efforts or financial shares in the lease of the space, are still contributors to this exhibition, which is about the community that has been constructed online, by mutual and collective effort, both personal and professional. I give thanks to all my artist friends on Facebook for that. I know it was in this spirit of celebration that Suzan and Susan took this on. "Going Big" was on view at Central Booking, 21 Ludlow Street, NYC through August 28.

Artist and journalist Joanne Mattera had work in the show, and built a comprehensive post on her blog, documenting the exhibition fully. (Joanne's blog is always worth a visit, and I recommend subscribing!) She has also included a list of links to other articles about this extraordinary show. Please visit Joanne's blog, here

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"Many Rivers"

This post duplicates the presentation of my work in my online exhibition with Galerie Cerulean, which ran on the website gallery until April 20, 2015 (and remains in the Archive section).

In other news, I have 12 pieces on view currently at Drawing Rooms, 180 Grand Street, in Jersey City, NJ. The show is entitled "Little Hand," curated by Anne Trauben, and includes 8 artists, some of my favorite contemporaries working in abstraction. Please follow this link for information about the artists, hours, directions, and public transportation options: Drawing Rooms website. The show will close June 28, and it's my first opportunity to show this much work this near a metropolitan area in quite some time. I hope you'll visit!

I have also completely revamped my own website, where you can see a few installation shots of that show, and selected works from the last ten years or so: 
I plan to rotate works in and out of the website, so there will be fresh things to see periodically, but not too much all at once.

Gambit 2014   22.5" x 26" oil on paper

Retort 2015 22.5" x 30" oil on paper

Geologic 2015 22.5" x 27" oil on paper

Springhead 2015 30" x 22.5" oil on paper

The paintings were executed in oil paint, mostly on the paper called Arches Huiles, which is formulated for oil paints and solvents without the need for priming. I enjoy this immediacy, and the sensations of paper, the mix of drawing, fluid wash, stain and brushwork, the ability to change the shape and format in the process of working -- the imperatives of my materials.

The reference to rivers grounds my intentions in the dominant feature of the place where I live, as well as my ongoing preoccupation with time, its passage, and the evidences of what changes and what endures. Rivers also refer to the spiritual song by Jimmy Cliff, Many Rivers to Cross, which I was listening to somewhat obsessively in the studio last summer.

Many Rivers 2014 24" x 22.5" oil on paper

Untold 2015 22.5" x 30" oil on paper

Teeter-Totter 2015 22.5" 24" oil on paper

Broken Chord 2014 22.5" x 27" oil on paper

Sotto Voce 30" x 30" oil on wood panel

Natural History 2014 30" x 22.5" oil on paper

Ravel 2015 30" x 22.5" oil on paper

Glimmer 2014 22.5" x 26" oil on paper with fabric collage 
Thank you for your eyes and your support!

Monday, June 1, 2015

TODAY, by Mary Oliver, and birds

TODAY, Mary Oliver

Today I'm flying low and I'm
not saying a word.
I'm letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I'm taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I'm traveling
a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

from A Thousand Mornings, Penguin, 2012


Monday, May 4, 2015

May Day

I’ve kept too many
unmarked keys, to open what doors?
and uncoupled socks whose mates
traveled, to where?
I have too many coats, just right 
for the climate I abandoned;
too many serving platters,
not enough dinners shared.
Who drinks anymore from this crystal
conserved from an age of people now buried?

In this perfect nest, four tiny eggs
upon which no bird sits;
and the goose was taken, along with her clutch.
The gander stopped waiting, and flew far.
Crabapple, will you be in such a hurry?
Quince, your blossoms might be
my favorite color for today.
Your fruits in fall will shrivel, unplucked.

text and photos ©2015 Ravenna Taylor

Sunday, April 5, 2015


©2014 Ravenna Taylor, "Shear," oil on paper, 22.5 x 23 inches


Quiet morning in the sun segues now to wind,
again. Sweeping out the corners, casting dusty
wishes to the gusts --
it's all they'll ever know of flight.

My school-age body loved the wind,
my playmate and companion. We ran and wrestled,
we took to swings and slides,
shared everything but my books.

Now we nurse a rift.
She's probably right to push me off:
It's for the best -- I let her rip
my love, tear me from my roots.

©Ravenna Taylor

©Ravenna Taylor, "Visitation 3," gouache on paper, 24 x 18 inches

Saturday, March 21, 2015



grey limbs fraught with cherished blossoms 
embrace and lift the overcast 

dark with damp a treetrunk gestures 
a partner inked upon the pond 

the way a longing throws a shadow 
across the features of your love

Text and Photos: ©2015 Ravenna Taylor

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Evidence," by Mary Oliver

©2015 Ravenna Taylor, Wichechoke Creek, Delaware Township, New Jersey


Mary Oliver


Where do I live? If I had no address, as many people
do not, I could nevertheless say that I lived in the
same town as the lilies of the field, and the still

Spring, and all through the neighborhood now there are
strong men tending flowers.

Beauty without purpose is beauty without virtue. But
all beautiful things, inherently, have this function—
to excite the viewers toward sublime thought. Glory
to the world, that good teacher.

Among the swans there is none called the least, or
the greatest.

I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in
singing, especially when singing is not necessarily

As for the body, it is solid and strong and curious
and full of detail; it wants to polish itself; it
wants to love another body; it is the only vessel in
the world that can hold, in a mix of power and
sweetness: words, song, gesture, passion, ideas,
ingenuity, devotion, merriment, vanity, and virtue.

Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.


There are many ways to perish, or to flourish.

How old pain, for example, can stall us at the
threshold of function.

Memory: a golden bowl, or a basement without light.

For which reason the nightmare comes with its
painful story and says: you need to know this.

Some memories I would give anything to forget.
Others I would not give up upon the point of
death, they are the bright hawks of my life.

Still, friends, consider stone, that is without
the fret of gravity, and water that is without

And the pine trees that never forget their
recipe for renewal.

And the female wood duck who is looking this way
and that way for her children. And the snapping
turtle who is looking this way and that way also.
This is the world.

And consider, always, every day, the determination
of the grass to grow despite the unending obstacles.

I ask you again: if you have not been enchanted by
this adventure—your life—what would do for

And, where are you, with your ears bagged down
as if with packets of sand? Listen. We all
have much more listening to do. Tear the sand
away. And listen. The river is singing.

What blackboard could ever be invented that
could hold all the zeros of eternity?

Let me put it this way—if you disdain the
cobbler may I assume you walk barefoot?

Last week I met the so-called deranged man
who lives in the woods. He was walking with
great care, so as not to step on any small,
living thing.

For myself, I have walked in these woods for
more than forty years, and I am the only
thing, it seems, that is about to be used up.
Or, to be less extravagant, will, in the
foreseeable future, be used up.

First, though, I want to step out into some
fresh morning and look around and hear myself
crying out:  "The house of money is falling! The house of money is falling! The weeds are rising!
The weeds are rising!"

From the collection "Evidence," ©2009 Mary Oliver, Beacon Press 

©2015 Ravenna Taylor, "Glimmer," oil on paper with collaged fabric, 22.5 x 27 inches - see more: