On a recent trip to Washington, D.C. Black Art In America (BAIA) Founder Najee Dorsey was asked if he was doing any studio visits?. BAIA's mission is to document, preserve and promote the contributions of the African-American art communities. Above are images from the visit and below an interesting article written by Rosetta DeBerardinis on her studio practice, hope you'll enjoy.
My Studio Practice: Rosetta DeBerardinis
By Rosetta DeBerardinis ©2013
If I were in the elevator with someone wearing a name tag that read: ‘curator’ I could deliver my pitch before the metal doors parted again; “I’m an abstract expressionist painter who draws cityscapes influenced by data mapping and creates sculpture using re-purposed materials”, I’d declare. When asked about my studio practice, my response after shaking my head, “very busy”. Like most artists, questions are usually related to the work, rarely the process. This season, instead of delivering paintings I’ve been writing proposals, reading, researching, and starting new bodies of work.
For the past two years, my head has been in books, magazines and even inside medical equipment researching exhibition proposals. Seven proposals steeped in art history or research from Mondrian, Varnedoe, Pollock to glaucoma are compiled in notebooks, binders and computer pages. Everything I have ever done in life prepared me for this moment. With three-advanced degrees, a strong background in research, writing and publishing, I wished to return to scholarly work; and Vassar College known for producing art historians well-prepared me; although I went through its year of art history kicking, screaming and sometimes crying.
My day begins with a review of deadlines on documents lined-up on a cork board held with push-pins; I then read two calendars to determine priorities, commitments, deadlines and/or appointments. I start with administrative work on the computer, answering or sending emails, reviewing calls for entries, looking at exhibitions and art-lots of art on social media, publications and reading online subscriptions both newspapers and magazines, foreign and domestic. Sometimes, I will have a long exchange with a dear friend and colleague about every aspect of the art world from submission fees, gallery receptions, jurors to who, where or what’s the next strategy along our artistic journey. If there is nothing urgent, which is rare, I draw or paint, write, email, read, order supplies, edit jpeg images or do filing. Finding time to visit a museum unless out of necessity is a treat as is going to theLuce Center to sketch. Constantly aware of where I am on each pending deadline, I frequently check, insert and prep the packet for mailing like a stage- mother would groom her child for a debut. Right now, I am working on two new bodies of work and will begin a third this month. The first, a series of cityscapes whereby I create drawings of structures abutting each other on canvas using ink, graphite, crayon, colored pencil, oil and chalk pastel, charcoal and in some duct-tape. The other, is my second response to the late curator, Kirk Varnedoe’s Mellon Lecture series ‘Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art Since Pollock’ rendered at the National Gallery of Art in 2003. Last week, I began learning Braille online for another body of work related to vision loss.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention the importance of mail both snail and electronic, for what I am expecting and need to send. Another proposal will require me to use Pollock and Mondrian as the platform for an exhibition. Ah, there are more shows in my head but right now I only have time to file away related materials in a folder to read later.
I must mention those very special moments in my studio when I create magic; the melding of mediums and color on a surface to evoke imagery. Or those times, when I can steal a few minutes to survey my finished work on the wall or converse about my art with a collector. The best part about my studio practice is that I have one; fortunate enough to spend each day doing what I love. Would you like to hear about my afternoon?
Studio No. 307
Washington, DC 20001-1259