Anne Truitt: Perception and Reflection, Installation view: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, National Mall, Washington, D.C.
October 8, 2009 – January 3, 2010
As I present the Summer 2023 issue of The Art Section I think about a quote from the artist Anne Truitt (from her book Yield):
Each individual lives the story of his or her own existence—we “translate” our lives as we live them.
In my case translated into objects: art and books.
I am reading Truitt’s Yield: Journal of an Artist, posthumously edited by her daughter Alexandra Truitt and published in 2022. I knew Anne when I was a young artist at Yaddo in 1983. Anne could not have been more different from me, yet we somehow had a connection as artists. I was 24 years old to her 63 –– we were from different places and decades. Yet our conversations about color and light and place have stayed with me. When I was living in Virginia, we met at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, in the Bonnard room. We both felt the light in his color, his touch as he transferred the saturated hues of his palette onto his canvases. While reading Yield, the journal of Truitt’s writings from the winter of 2001 to the spring of 2002, two years before her death, I recognize that understanding the day-to-day life of an artist, their time, place, and history, immerses the viewer deeper in their work.
In this summer issue, we have three texts, each written by an artist in conversation with another artist’s work, both in the same geographic locations during the course of their respective lives. I like to think experiencing the same lived places led to a deeper understanding of the artist and the work.
The artists and writers are from Mexico City, Tel Aviv, New York City and Atlanta. The architecture and landscape in which they found themselves rooted, bring a personal understanding to the art and architecture, as well as and to the social and political climate of these places. The authors have write about the art and artists with an insider’s perspective and empathy for the process and resulting accomplishments.
I did not always know about the Mexican architect Luis Barragán (1902-1988), truly an artist of the 20th century. How did I not know about this magnificent architect who used intense color––reds, pinks, and yellows, on his exterior concrete walls? Barragán’s use of color in his architecture resonates with the landscapes in which his buildings reside. Nicolette Reim writes about Barragán for TAS as an artist who lived and traveled in Mexico for many years and experienced his buildings first-hand. Reim knows these places and has encountered directly Barragán’s poetic response to the landscape and light of Mexico through the geometry, color, and form of his structures.
Time and place have always been significant to me––knowing when and where helps me to understand why. In 2017, I saw the work of Gal Weinstein in the Israeli Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Weinstein originally trained as a set designer at Tel Aviv University before going on to study at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, which may explain his interests in environments and the creation of illusion. Weinstein often addresses the floor or creates new walls to immerse the viewer into his environmental territories. The political aspect of his work, clearly present in his maps, is quite specific to Israel, yet Weinstein’s connections to international developments in earthworks and land art should not be overlooked. In fact, time may be the most significant factor in the media he uses and the process of his works’ creation. In a video interview, the artist speaks about the way mold that had developed in his abandoned coffee cups informed and inspired the way he addresses floor works that change over time. The organic quality of his works is important to his process. Artist Etty Yaniv has written her dialogue with Weinstein from the unique perspective as of an artist born in Tel Aviv and currently living and working in New York City. Yaniv’s artwork also recycles and ages through the materials she resurrects in her installations, often from floor to ceiling.
In Atlanta, artist Susan Cofer visits the studio and current exhibition of artist Larry Walker. Both are Georgia natives born about 50 miles apart, but their experiences and lives could not have been more different. Their mutual understanding of the life of an artist transcends their individual histories and experiences. Cofer brings a compassionate and perceptive eye, as well as an understanding of the life of an artist with deep roots in the South, to the text about her visit with Larry Walker.
Many thanks to these artists, architects, and writers.
The Art Section
Deanna Sirlin is an artist and writer from Brooklyn, New York currently living and working outside of Atlanta, Georgia.
Her current exhibition, Wavetable is on view at 211 East 43rd street, NYC, NY 10017 through November 15, 2023.
Deanna Sirlin photo: Marie Thomas