Born in 1966 in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Denise Tassin now resides in Baltimore, MD. She holds a BA from McNeese State University (Lake Charles, LA) and an MFA from Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX). Selected residencies include Evergreen House at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD, 2003-04); Montgomery College (Rockville, MD, 2004); and Hand Print Workshop International (Alexandria, VA, 2003). Significant solo exhibitions include Denise Tassin: Art Fair of Multiple Personalities at School 33 Art Center (Baltimore, 2005); Suppressed Desires Party at Evergreen House (Baltimore, 2004-05); Very Young Art at Park School (Baltimore, 2002) and fortissimo to pianissimo: Recent work by Denise Tassin at the Creative Alliance (Baltimore, 2000-01). Significant group exhibitions include These Are Your Instructions, Center Stage (Baltimore, 2005); The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards, Creative Partners Gallery (Bethesda, 2005); Habitat, Maryland Art Place (Baltimore, 2003); Project One, Signal 66 (Washington, DC, 2003); FijateX (Barcelona, Spain, 2003); Perpendicular Dialogues, Rosenberg Gallery, Goucher College (Towson, MD, 2001-02); Snapshot, Contemporary Museum (Baltimore, 2000); departureturn, Meadows Museum (Dallas, 2000); The Untroubled Mind: Agnes Martin and Seven Baltimore Artists, Villa Julie College Gallery (Stevenson, MD, 1999); Recent Paintings, Project Space, Corcoran Gallery of Art/Washington Project for the Arts (Washington, DC, 1998) and Biennial ’98, Delaware Art Museum (Wilmington, DE, 1998). Ms. Tassin’s work is in the permanent collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art and Sheppard Pratt Health System as well as numerous private collections. The Maryland State Arts Council has recognized her work with four Individual Artist Fellowships in the areas of drawing, installation and painting and she is the 2005 third place winner of The Trawick Prize. Ms. Tassin has curated exhibitions; collaborated with artists, composers, musicians and dancers; taught at a college level; and served on nonprofit boards and committees. [/author_info] [/author] My work is intuitive, and connected to the pattern of everyday life activities. There is no on-and-off in the studio; my working process is constant. The story that my work tells is my own narrative, which I examine again and again. I think about things in multiples, with the occasional single unique object appearing within these large groups. What I’m doing is building an environment.
What does it mean to collect – to collect things, to collect art? How do we present our collections? Collecting has a variety of meanings for me, with each collection suggesting something different. At quick glance, the collections (and installations) – a kind of cacophony of the imagination – looks as though they are made by a large group of people instead of one person. Although I gather hundreds of objects, the greater value often lies in the process and subsequent observation and study. I collect natural objects; washed up plastics and other debris; small, unusual toys and kitchen items; and ephemera from my everyday activity that can be amassed in multiples – like stickers, candy wrappers, dry cleaner tags, plastic container tops, twist ties, receipts, labels, bits of garbage, medication, restaurant menus and rubber bands. I specifically collect consumer products – like holiday decorations, office supplies, craft materials, artificial flowers, inflatables and party decorations. All lists and notes are important. Collecting from specific geographic locations is also significant. In a way, I’ve begun to collect myself – which, in addition to the practical aspect of accumulating objects of course has an emotional meaning, too (to bring your emotions together under one roof and under control). So, I’ve begun to make both an emotional and physical record of a single life.
My choice of materials is deliberate–they symbolize important aspects of my life experience. I make use of a wide variety of media, from traditional artist materials to Stickum Special, beef liver, beet powder, candy, iodine, mercurochrome, methiolate, gentian violet, food color, hair dye, house paint, calamine lotion, indigo, extract and white-out to name a few.
The vision that I create is an intuitive investment of emotion into the mundane practice of daily life.