Legion Projects is proud to present the latest show for our residency program at the Bird Cage San Francisco. Flowstate, a solo show by Oakland artist Taylor Smalls, opens on May 6, 2023.

This body of work was created to relay a quiet and rooted pride within Black women that has been adversely portrayed in modern culture, art, and media.

These paintings embody personal understanding and optimism in how we feel about ourselves internally, and choose to portray ourselves outwardly. They explore how water plays an integral role historically and presently in relation to Black people and Black women, specifically. The use of water both literally and metaphorically represents fluidity, malleability, and strength; all necessary components Black womxn have had to embody while navigating their way through American culture.

(Taylor Smalls)

Taylor Smalls is a contemporary palette knife painter based in Oakland, California. Her work studies the kaleidoscopic depth of black and brown skin through the layering of highly pigmented color. It celebrates the endless nuances of melanated womxn by amplifying and exaggerating the underlying tones in colored skins that are often depicted dulled down or neglected, much like the people who inhabit them. Her work aims to show womxn of color in a bold, proud, and celebratory light as depictions of strong melanated womxn are severely lacking in contemporary portraiture. Smalls has been working as a gynocentric painter since 2012 and continues to do so out of her West Oakland studio.