The Chapel Hill Art Gallery is painting its way into politics with its newest exhibit.
David Taylor is featured artist for the month of February at the Chapel Hill Art Gallery, and the Moral Monday protests in Raleigh are the main subjects of his exhibit, titled “Does Art Have a Moral Responsibility.”
The exhibit is composed of 22 pieces, including landscapes and still lifes, but the main focus is on seven pieces depicting various scenes from the Moral Monday protests. The paintings are based on pictures taken by photographer David Otto. Taylor originally created a total of nine oil paintings for a Moral Mondays exhibit at his church, but then made copies of seven for the gallery.
“I feel very strongly about the issues that Moral Mondays are protesting,” Taylor said about his inspiration for the project.
These issues include health care, funding for education, voter laws, and women’s health.
“I’m not a good protester myself, I’m not a good marcher, but I can paint. I wanted to paint images that I thought captures the spirit of Moral Mondays, the feelings of the people, of the speakers,” he said.
Taylor began working on the pieces in October and just finished the last one three weeks ago. He said he began to make a living as an artist after he retired as head of UNC’s Undergraduate Library in 2002, but his love for painting has been lifelong. His work has been featured in several different venues throughout the state, including the Golden Belt in Durham, and he is part of the Orange County Artists Guild.
However, he primarily works with the Chapel Hill Art Gallery, where he has been a member since May. The gallery, located on Franklin Street, used to be the Focal Point Gallery. Taylor said the relatively new gallery is still working out its policies and procedures and has hopes for expansion in the future.
“This is a gallery that is rising, like a phoenix rising, from the ashes of a former gallery that had just been torn apart by dissention,” Taylor said.
Sharon Barnes, another member, said the gallery currently has 14 members who mostly work in paintings, and, in the future, she hopes they include artists that work with various other mediums.
“We are not limiting ourselves — by local we mean North Carolina” Barnes said. “Right now [every member] is local — that’s where we put our emphasis.”
As far as personal goals, Taylor said he hopes to continue working and expand beyond his realistic style of painting.
He hopes to work with a more abstract style of painting in the future.
“I still feel like I have so much to learn. I know what I Iike to paint, but it’s not necessarily what people like,” Taylor said.
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