Quabbin Reservoir Series #2
Denise Tassin, Artist Statement
The Quabbin Reservoir series of 32, 2 x 2’ paintings
resulted from subsequent investigation of objects found
at a homestead site along the reservoir. Quabbin
Reservoir, once the site of four towns and now Boston’s
major water supplier, was built at the turn of the century. The
objects found were remnants of past life at the reservoir
site. They primarily consisted of broken glass
and china, burnt glass, pottery chards, clock parts,
bones and other miscellaneous items that you might expect
to find in a pile of burnt trash dating from that period. The
story of Quabbin and the discovery of the objects offered
an interesting opportunity to study 32 select fragments
and recreate what the stories surrounding the original
objects might have been. The investigation was
based on an intuitive response to each object.
Villa Julie College
Curated by Gary Kachadourian
Work by Denise Tassin:
Quabbin Reservoir Series #2
November 1999 – February 2000
32 at 2 x 2’ each
1-8 First row.
9-16 Second row.
17-24 Third row.
25-32 Fourth row.
Materials: Beef liver, betadine, iodine,
mercurochrome, methiolate, gentian violet, red clay,
ink, ink wash, roofing cement, beet, food color, bodacious
burgundy hair dye, coffee, spirulina, cochineal, fustic
sawdust, logwood, achiote, paprika, dye, calamine lotion,
turmeric, markers, oil paint stick and pencil.
1. The odor of roots of burning plastic smells no differently
2. The skull revealed the speed of
the last rainfall.
3. Shimmers in the distance gave clues
of the towns past activities.
4. The skin of seasons left a protective
patina that defined the passing of time.
5. The charred remains of acquisitions
6. Torn pink lace and the fingerprints
of soiled hands revealed their passion.
7. The smell of baking ham evoked
the taste of green in his mouth.
8. Broken crocks stained with beets
lined the trail near the reservoir.
9. The settlement became identifiable
as a result of their shadows.
10. The sum of his life was reached by equating
that he used the same belt to hold up the same pants.
11. The path of a turtle knows no certain
12. At eleven o’clock everyday she
stopped for a deep breath, cake and tea.
13. The sweat from her brow left a days
labor upon her handkerchief.
14. Her fingers circled the patterns of
the china plate set before her.
15. She was able to momentarily escape the
mundaneness of her life by enlisting the aid of her imagination.
16. She used the low light of the lamp to
conceal her blemishes while courting.
17. The darkness beneath his eyelids was
comforting just before the amputation.
18. Liniment eased her aching joints.
19. Spit and spinner baits have worn his
20. They chose to let their wedding china
remind them of their commitment as they sat solemnly
21. Catfish prefer cooler temperatures for
moving about the bottom of the lake.
22. The routine path of deer can be found
out by mapping their feces.
23. Soles of a shoe weather the soul differently
than a bare foot.
24. For weeks at the ladies luncheon on
Wednesdays they discussed the bright blue desire of the
25. Inside her thimble was the odor of days.
26. Not until time stopped did it begin.
27. He knew his path would take him no farther
until it did.
28. The evidence of their presence was at
first not clear.
29. Milks amethyst container continued to
pour long after it was emptied.
30. The discovery occurred slowly, one object
at a time.
31. Marked by heat, ashes and time the fragment
was almost less than a clue.
32. Pinecones continue to fall randomly
despite the perfect planting of the forest.