Susan Aaron-Taylor is a builder and a storyteller whose hands and spirit work collectively to create works of art rooted in the traditions of alchemy and creative fantasy. A sculptor, teacher, and student of Jungian psychology, Aaron-Taylor mines the realm of dreams, archetypes, and the collective unconscious to invent mythologies entwined in personal history, mysticism, and ritual.
As objects, her sculptures are physical manifestations of alchemy, the medieval melding of chemistry, philosophy, and secret lore, in which matter is converted from one element into another. Wool, stone, fossil, wood, paper, bone, metal, mineral, shell, bead, and plant material exist first in nature, then as art. They are the connective tissue, the muscle supporting the essential poetry of the work. As stories, Aaron-Taylor’s work transcends language to construct dream-like narratives that explore ancient cultures, archetypes, the psyche, shamanism, and, ultimately, the Self. Aaron-Taylor’s role as an artist and storyteller, her marriage of material and myth-making, merge in a holistic tableau of meaning, within which we find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
Brooklyn-born and Detroit-based, Aaron-Taylor studied art at Cranbrook Art Academy and Wayne State University. As an educator, she has been a Professor on the faculty of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit since 1973, serving as Chair of the Crafts Department from 1980 to 1990, Section Chair of Fibers from 1973 to 2013 and currently as Professor emerita. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States, and is included in numerous collections, including Cranbrook Art Museum, Kmart Corporation, and Westin Hotels. In addition, her studies in Jungian psychology and spirituality have situated her work in a variety of unexpected environments, such as exhibitions at Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Bly’s annual Conference on the Great Mother, and the Ram Dass Library at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.
Director of the Executive Office at The Kresge Foundation