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Tayler Séan Harrison

In The Studio

Watson Hall, Columbia University, August 2023

I’m guided to the door of Séan’s studio late one warm New York summer evening by two moths. One was already inside when we arrived, perhaps on guard and waiting for us to trade places. The other was Séan herself, a calming creature of the night also attracted to light. 


Her corner studio door opens up into an unexpected sanctuary of old and new, where every camera, magazine, snack, and ceramic organized or otherwise has its place. As I try to take in the multitudes of projects spanning across the room in their own mediums, I learn to think more like they do, and I start to follow the light. Understanding to view the studio itself as a holistic installation, my eyes adjust to make sense of what’s in front of me.


Blue and red illuminations streak through spirits brought into physical dimension from shaped and ornamented burlap pinned against the wall. Swaying from above, ethereal and disassociated bodily forms join this tangible moment in time. Below, I find their corpses, molds decorated in their own right and waiting to be reincarnated again. The same molds create different structures and shapes, but the foundation and legacy remain constant, as a motherhood and lineage.


Séan’s work leaves us uncertain of our plane. Adorned with shells, beads, and mossy dyes not just reminiscent nor evocative, but fully encompassing the soft beauty and mystic power of New Orleans’ angel willow trees. Stradling the earth and underwater worlds simultaneously, a history of folklore is extended through her embodied ancestral system.  


Séan’s relationship with designing is deeply rooted, but her actualization of this type of artistic practice only came about more recently. Needing to push beyond paths that didn’t fit her evolving shape, she began creating work that helped her find home in herself in addition to the home she was given. Vulnerably merging all parts of herself, her sculptures honor and cherish each piece in an effort to authentically strive for wholeness. From architecture, to video, to collage, and now life sized-figural sculpture, her work continues to reflect the stages of her personal journey toward self-fulfillment, understanding, and liberation. 


Time spent in Séan’s studio taught me about the importance of honesty and impulse. Their work is meaningful because it is not just a display of history, it is also an interwoven experience of her present and how she grapples to make sense of both. Originating from within, Séan allows us to witness this becoming alongside her. As she continues forward successfully, driven by her strong decisiveness and adaptability, I imagine the contents of her future work will be unpredictable, yet consistently filled with awe. 


Séan is a current MFA candidate at Columbia University in New York City. She is originally from New Orleans, where she received her Bachelor of Architecture from Louisiana State University. 

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