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fortissimo to pianissimo
Recent Work by Denise Tassin
The sheer volume of work in the current exhibition is
an indication of how intricately Denise Tassin’s
ongoing processes of drawing become synonymous with the
measuring of experience. This is artmaking as a
fabric of interpretation, an output that forms the skein
of waking hours, with all experiences filtered through
the drawing process. The artist favors singular, airy
marks and lines, creating a web of movement and space
within each drawing. The 200-plus pieces in the exhibit
form a dense, harmonious flow from floor to ceiling.
To lift out any single drawing for comment is to miss
the “read” when left in place; these are
works that are marking the passing of time, that are
giving a visual aspect to thoughts, music, feelings.
A video documentation within the exhibition, “Drawings
By Worms”, reveals a suite of drawings made by
the inching progress of nightcrawlers dipped in pigment
and placed at the center of large sheets of drawing paper.
The handsome results of this procedure are treated as
equal components of the other work in the exhibit, and
therein lies a clue to the artist’s intentions.
An arm, the artist’s, is seen occasionally, dipping
or placing a worm. The viewer is reminded that the worm
is a tool for drawing, same as brush or pen, valued for
the interesting mark and not, say, as a biological study
of the worm’s reactions to various colors.
To take the suggestion of omnipotence one step farther
the artist next used wind and gravity as drawing tools
in the “sticky paintings”. They were
made by applying the insect-trap called Stickum Special
to identically sized boards, which were set out for a
predetermined length of time at two different rural locations
to collect whatever fell from the trees or was blown
down by the wind. All of the boards are lovely,
all are interesting to inspect for the husks and minutiae
of the natural world, the signature thinking is in the
governing hand of the artist, expressing a desire to
comment on all that was in a certain place, to lift it
out of context and make it her own.
Finally, the artist remarks on the experience of the
installation process by drawing on the site itself. Marks
in ink and pigment cover the huge plate glass gallery
windows but do not obscure the view in or out. The
windows of the space become the most recent drawings
in the exhibit, decorative and mysterious from the outside,
seen from within they become an overlay of notations
that screen the world outside.