Kenyon College

Taylor Sweeney


Taylor Sweeney

Pittsburgh, PA

Kenyon Class of ’15, Studio Art major


Sailors bound tarred canvas paulin over objects on the decks of their ships. Today victims of natural disaster and of the human condition use the ubiquitous blue woven polyethylene tarp as a vital element for their shelters. Tarp is a fabric of humanity.

Extracted strands of polyethylene drip and seep out from the wall. They were once close as lovers, bound and sealed in a robust and watertight plane. Unravelling this woven plastic yields a decoration. It once held such promise for hauling or protecting. Aesthetic goals aside, a transformation has occurred. In destroying one object, I have created another. The futility of this act is, however, evident; the object is less practical after its alteration. Dissonance occurs when the visual accessibility of the tarp meets its extensive unravelling. A moment of recognition and confusion ushers this work into being.

The split plastic laps at your feet with its faintly rustling tendrils. It is an invitation to consider the tarp’s creation, purpose, destruction and aesthetic possibilities.


–Taylor Sweeney, ‘15