Nancy H. Taplin is a contemporary action painter. Dramatic brushstrokes fabricate colorful abstract shapes that interlace, building up treelike figures bursting from white backgrounds. These energetic works naturally pull the eye in and around to examine the frenzy. Compositions work toward emotional climaxes, tensions and releases—sometimes the sense of holding on, sometimes the sense of letting go. She paints with a range of paintbrushes and homemade rubber tools onto linen and paper.
She writes, “The works on paper could be likened to a tree falling, the act of falling with tremendous energy, vertical to horizontal, its impact creating an upward movement of its parts in a weightless moment. The works on linen are more precise, creating microcosms within the larger whole. There is a vulnerability to their structure as there is in all nature.”
In 2010, the precise moment the earthquake destroyed Haiti, Taplin was at the Kandinsky retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Kandinsky’s greatest accomplishment was to shift the focus of painting from the objects and images being portrayed to the mind and the feelings of the viewer. With Kandinsky in mind, Taplin was moved to response the earthquake in Haiti and the aftermath. The resulting work, Haiti, January 12, 2010 (51”x71”, oil-on-linen, 2010) is a testament to the power of action painting to document indescribable moments and unspeakable feelings.
Nancy H. Taplin was educated at The Rhode Island School of Design and The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where she won a European Traveling Scholarship. She started showing her work in 1980 in the New England area. She won a Vermont Council on the Arts Fellowship, three full fellowships to The Vermont Studio Center, and is represented in The Wellington Collection in Boston.