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fortissimo to pianissimo • Review

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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.

Jan Razauskas
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