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Nature Trail • Artist Statement

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. 

Nature Trail
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.

Titles
1. The odor of roots of burning plastic smells no differently today.

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 defined status.

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 speed.

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 line thin.

20. They chose to let their wedding china remind them of their commitment as they sat solemnly eating.

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 unnamable.

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.

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