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On June 17, 2015, I met a garter snake on the road of the Red Butte Research Natural Area. I had been afraid of snakes—an evolutionary fear reinforced by childhood traumas. But there was familiarity in this snake’s eyes—they looked like my cat’s eyes. This shifted my fear to affection. As I sat next to the snake, I heard and felt heartbeats from the surroundings. Perhaps an audible hallucination. As it is with such experiences, there isn’t sufficient language to describe what the heartbeats felt like. Because memory renders intense experiences as cloudy as waking dreams, I can best convey such experiences through imagery.
My work is informed by ineffable experiences with what humans refer to as “the natural world”—a named distinction for wildlife and landscapes. My process of art-making serves as an existential exploration, and conveys the intelligence and agency of living and non-living entities encountered in my surroudings. Through multiple mediums (watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, letterpress printed linoleum relief blocks, and artist books that include my creative nonfiction and poetry), I invite the viewer to see themselves as participants in places and ecosystems often seen as separate from human. I use these mediums to create a visual language where there is no sufficient verbal language.
Claire Taylor is an artist, illustrator and art educator. She holds a Master of Science in Environmental Humanities and a Bachelor of Fine Art with a printmaking emphasis from the University of Utah. She is currently a University Fellow at the University of Arizona, where she is enrolled in an MFA program in illustration and design.
Claire has held artist residencies at the Natural History Museum of Utah and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art , as well as teaching-artist residencies serving remote and rural populations through the Utah Division of Arts and Museums and Utah State University. Her work has been commissioned by many Utah-based organizations including the Salt Lake City Public Library, Ken Sanders Rare Books, Back of Beyond Books, the Sustainability Office at the University of Utah and Torrey House Press. Her solo art exhibitions include "Snail Snake City" at the Utah State Capitol (2022), "Transcendence by Observation" at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (2019), "All of Us Beasts" at Alice Gallery (2017), and "The Inhabitants of the Salt Lake City Cemetery" at the Marmalade Branch of the Salt Lake City Public Library. She formerly worked as the Visual Arts Coordinator for the Salt Lake City Arts Council where she managed the Finch Lane Gallery; prior she worked as the Studio Manager, Instructor and Lead Printer at the Book Arts Program & Red Butte Press at the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.