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fortissimo to pianissimo • Review

Fortissimo to Pianissimo
Recent work by Denise Tassin
Thursday, December 7, 2000
Saturday, January 27, 2001
Fells Point Creative Alliance
413 S. Conkling Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21244
PH: 410-276-1651 or

    Line: fat, thin, wavy, curly, textured, straight, sumptuous, compelling. Not since the 1970's wall drawings of Sol LeWitt have I seen an artist embrace line it all its brilliance so fully.  Denise Tassin's use of line in this exhibition is remarkable.  I am reminded of Jeffery Kastner's review of Sol LeWitt in the December 3, 2000 issue of the New York Times "he works an idea through to a logical conclusion, and then he creates a contradiction that allows for a renewal of the possibility of the idea again". Tassin's work resounds with this enthusiasm.  To constantly search and involve herself in new ways to explore the use of line.  She makes line on walls, line on glass, line on mylar, line hanging from the ceiling, line in three dimensional form, the twist tie cubes, perhaps even line as a representation of sound.
    For years Tassin has been immersed in the work of composer John Cage and his use of ambient sound.  Her use of line is the essence of ambient.  In this installation you're surrounded by line from all sides -- the walls, the ceiling, and the floor.  This is truly an installation, not just work stuck up on the wall, or some kitschy navel gazing crap thrown into a corner and poorly lit.  She educates us about what an installation should be.
    Tassin's engagement with music is the heart of this installation.  It's sound that drives her relationship to line, line that is composed and orchestrated in staccato and syncopated rhythms.  Her line is constantly in flux, again suggesting Cage's involvement with chance, the sounds of the street, the sounds of everyday life.
    I have often told Tassin to slow down and give the work more time; stop being all over the place.  I have never been more wrong.

Patrick Burns
January 2, 2001

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