Paintings and Drawings by Deborah Wasserman
April 15 - May 12, 2023
Opening: Saturday, April 15, 3:00-5:00PM
Artego is pleased to announce Motherland, Deborah Wasserman’s solo show with the gallery. A grouping of large and small-scale oil paintings and ink drawings of landscapes traces Wasserman’s interest in the themes of migration, wandering, and the pursuit of belonging.
With energetic brushstrokes, rich surfaces, and the use of rhythmic vertical lines in her compositions, Wasserman conjures up sweeping landscapes that echo her desire to find solace and deepen her roots in an imaginary native land. Born in Brazil, she was raised in Israel by parents who were themselves children of migrants. As a young adult, Wasserman moved to the United States on her own, eventually settling in Queens, New York. A nomad, a traveler, and a seeker at heart, her landscapes are hybrids - melanges of real and imagined places that reflect her personal and collective histories.
In the works on display, the concept of native land is tightly interwoven with that of Mother Earth - the personification of our planet as a feminine, nurturing entity. In a nod to magical realism, The Whisper of the Trees, 2021 depicts mysterious, ancestral eyes peeking through a luscious forest. By contrast, Feronia, 2019, presents the viewer with a burning landscape that appears barren and ravaged, loosely reminiscent of William Turner’s turbulent horizons. Scenes of environmental destruction are recurring in Wasserman’s work, her way of denouncing the tragedy of climate change. In her view, which is aligned with the ecofeminist movement, patriarchal forces oppress nature and women alike. As a mother of daughters, the artist’s connection to this concept is personal and deeply felt.
Wasserman’s creative process is spontaneous and visceral. Her practice centers around multiple stages of layering and erasing, slowly letting the painting reveal itself. Oil paint is dripped, poured, scratched, wiped away, and applied again. Every inch of the canvas is carefully developed, its parts as equally great as the whole. The artist also uses torn rags, which she paints after attaching them to the canvas – an intentional reference to her process and to the toil of women’s lives and labor.
The quote by Agnès Varda “If we opened people up, we'd find landscapes [...]"¹ beautifully sums up Wasserman’s visceral approach to this body of work. The genre of landscape painting allows her to look inward by making her personal story a universal one about one’s search for identity, belonging, and a home away from one’s native places. She also looks outward, bringing attention to the ecological disaster of our times and making the feminine the absolute heroine of her oeuvre.
About the Artist
Deborah Wasserman is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and a Skowhegan fellow. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at The Queens Museum, The Bronx Museum, and White Columns. She is the recipient of grants from The New York Foundation for the Arts, The New York State Department of Cultural Affairs, The Puffin Foundation, and the Queens Council On The Arts among many others. Most recently, she completed a public artwork commissioned by the New York City Department of Transportation.
For further information, please contact Misong Park at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone 917 692-1545.
Image details: The Whisper of the Trees, 2021, oil, acrylic, and torn clothes on canvas, 60x70 inches
1.The Beaches of Agnès, 2008, dir. Agnès Varda