DEBORAH ZLOTSKY | Galatea
Jan 20 – Mar 26, 2022
“For me, a painting makes concrete the intersection between visual language and lived experience. Studying art history was my entrance into art-making, and a continuing love of art from the past informs the language of my new work: elements from the mash-up of abstraction and illusion in early Renaissance frescoes; the radical shape-shifting of Surrealism; and the countercultural color and groove of 1960s psychedelia and Pop Art. History and the passage of time are conveyed in the way I handle materials as well. When I paint, drips, smears, and abrasions remain in the work, uncorrected and vital. These imperfections trace the history of the making, and, as a metaphor, the accidents and complexities of living. As I age and experience the daily mismatch between my body and my consciousness, I’m drawn to incongruities, to creating paintings and drawings that seem old and new, flat and fleshy, geometric and figurative, bold and soft, constructed and alive.
The idea of art coming alive stretches throughout art history. In Ovid's Metamorphoses, the ivory sculpture of Galatea comes to life through the intervention of Venus and the kiss of her maker, Pygmalion. In my paintings, I discover the anthropomorphic in shapes, forms, and colors, even if the inherent flatness of stripes and shapes may make them unlikely candidates for animation, with their references to modernism and minimalism. Bright colors, organic mutations, and a shift from surface to dimensional space disrupts those past visual strategies and allow a feminizing perspective to open pathways into the speculative inner life of abstraction. Where one shape rests upon another with enough volume to cast a shadow, that moment of touch becomes more than juxtaposition; it becomes tenderness and support. Where two flat shapes curve away from their hard-edge geometries toward each other, the unexpected magnetism creates a sense of mutuality and connection. The realist passages within the abstraction help me to discover the narrative potential of what is often understood in more formalist terms.”
A 2019 recipient of a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in the Creative Arts, Deborah Zlotsky received her MFA from the University of Connecticut, and her BA from Yale University. A recipient of the Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship, two-time New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Artists’ Fellowship in Painting, First Place Award, SACI International Art Competition, Studio Art Center International (SACI), Florence, Italy, Juror’s Award, Mohawk Hudson Regional, and The Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY juried by Stephen Westfall, are among many prestigious recognitions that Zlotsky has received throughout her career. Zlotsky’s work has been exhibited in a multitude of solo and group exhibitions including the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockland, ME; Providence College, Providence, RI; Studio Art Center International, Florence, Italy; and Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Warne, IN, among others. Her work is housed in the permanent public collections of Rutgers University, NJ; Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, Istanbul, Waldorf Astoria, NY; New York Palace Hotel, NY; William Benton Museum of Art, Storrs, CT; Albany Institute of History and Art; RISD Museum, Rhode Island School of Design; Polsinelli Collection; University of Iowa Health Center; Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, CT; University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA; Sioux City Art Center, Sioux City, IA; Nebraska-Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE; Southwest Texas State University, and Eastern Oregon State University.