Deanna Sirlin, Color of Healing, 2023, Poem by Opal Moore, Sound and Videography Nuno Veiga, single channel, 5:52 minutes, 16 x 41 feet, Georgia Tech Media Bridge, Atlanta, Georgia
on view through December 14, 2023
The question that arises after three years of the pandemic is, what has changed for artists and viewers as they emerge from the cocoon of the studio, the Zoom conversations, and the works done in solitude?
Choreographer Mark Morris’s dance company celebrated 40 years of existence during the summer of 2023 after three years of working in isolation, perhaps the most difficult situation for artists who perform together. The company recently presented two programs of works at The Joyce Theater in New York City. During the pandemic, Morris choreographed and presented a series of dances via Zoom. He began one, Sunshine, thirty years ago as a tribute to minimalist dance and the kinds of works that were performed at the Judson Dance Theater in NYC. His dancers stepped, walked, ran, and hopped to Gene Autry’s “You Are My Sunshine,” never imagining that Morris would present this work as a video piece, edited by Colin Fowler, his music director. Another of Morris’s zoom works is "Lonely Fugue," in which the members of the Mark Morris Dance Group perform in their individual spaces to Mozart’s Fugue in C Minor. The isolation of the dancers recalls Ragnar Kjartansson’s The Visitors (2012), a pre-pandemic video installation in which Kjartansson and his friends perform music together in a dilapidated mansion in upstate New York, but each musician appears on a separate video screen. This sense of unity within isolation is prevalent in many of Morris’s video works. But, as we all move into a post-pandemic state, his new works celebrate the “liveness” and joyousness of the physical presence of dancers moving together and of musicians playing. The performance at The Joyce Theater was a passionate reaffirmation of the art, physicality and presence of “live” performance.
During the pandemic artist Liat Yossifor, sent a series of small oil paintings on paper to poet, writer, and curator Ed Schad, to which he responded with poems. From this exchange emerged their collaborative book, Letters Apart. Yossifor and Schad continue their conversation for TAS, touching on their work, how their collaboration is a timeline of the pandemic, and the intimacy of the relationships between the poems and the paintings.
Ross Gay is a poet who notices the minute details of his surroundings. In his conversation with artist Iva Gueorgieva, they touch on everything from words and moments, to the tear on a page in Alma Thomas’s Study for Resurrection, 1966, to the poet Ross Field’s book Guston in Time: Remembering Philip Guston. When Field wrote about Guston’s work, Guston responded in a letter, “I felt . . . as if we knew each other and had many discussions about painting and literature. In a word—I felt recognition.” What a perfect description of the dialogue between Gueorgieva and Gay, as the painter and the poet reflect on their mutual concerns.
During the summer of 2023, I collaborated with poet Opal Moore on a video work that contemplates the healing properties of light and color. I wanted to make a work that would talk about the way we could move forward after the last three years particularly in Atlanta where we both live and work. With sound and video by artist Nuno Veiga (from Lisbon, Portugal) and support from the Nexus Fund and the Andy Warhol Foundation in New York City, we were able to realize a new video, Color of Healing, that mixes poetry, painting, light, color, and sound, presented on the media bridge at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
Veiga and I have never met in person due to the pandemic, yet this is our third collaboration. The curator of my exhibition Strata at the Centro de Arte e Cultura in Évora, Portugal commissioned Veiga to create three videos interpreting my work in dance. These will be seen in Atlanta at Core Dance in Winter 2024 for their program REEL Art Video Technology + Installation Art. Ironically, these videos would never have been realized except for the pandemic. Because I could not travel and never saw my exhibition installed, Veiga was commissioned to create these works.
I hope that these artworks and conversations give us what is needed for healing after the last three years.
Many thanks to these artists, poets, videographers, and choreographers.
All my best,
The Art Section
Deanna Sirlin is an artist and writer from Brooklyn, New York currently living and working outside of Atlanta, Georgia. She received an MFA from Queens College, CUNY where she studied with Robert Pincus-Witten, Charles Cajori and Benny Andrews. She has received numerous honors, including a Rothko Foundation Symposium Residency, a grant from the United States State Department, a Yaddo Foundation Residency and a Creative Capital Warhol Foundation Award for its Art Writing Mentorship Program. She recently received grants from the United States Artist Grants and The Georgia Committee for The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, and the Judith Alexander Foundation. Sirlin has been artist-in-residence at the Cini Foundation in Venice, Italy, the Padies Foundation, Lempaut, France, and for the City of Nuremberg, Germany. She has had solo exhibitions at The High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Venice, Italy; Fundação Eugénio de Almeida, Évora, Portugal; The Centre for Recent Drawing, London, UK and the Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, GA. Her work has been commissioned for exhibitions at The New Orleans Museum of Art and The Georgia Museum; she was invited by Pawel Althamer to part be of his exhibition at the New Museum, NYC. Sirlin's work has been written about in The London Telegraph Sunday Magazine, Art in America, International Art News, Art Papers Magazine, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Magazine, Digital Art, Southern Living Magazine, Sculpture Magazine, Catalyst Magazine, and Flavourpill Magazine/London. Her book, She’s Got What It Takes: American Women Artists in Dialogue was published by Charta Art Books, Milan, Italy and NYC in 2013. She currently is an artist-in-residence for the Midtown Alliance/Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Sirlin is Editor-in-Chief of The Art Section.
Sirlin's current solo exhibition is Wavetable is at 211 East 43rd Street, NYC, NY 10017 and is on view through November 14, 2023. The building is open 24/7 for viewing the exhibition
Deanna Sirlin photo: Marie Thomas
Color of Healing
Deanna Sirlin, Color of Healing, 2023, Poem by Opal Moore, Sound and Videography by Nuno Veiga single channel, 5:52 minutes
Color of Healing
If only all the colored world would dis
appear, leave a hole polka dot canvas
world of missing tears.
But who would they be without sorrows the
errors of their ways, the arrows of their errors,
their ways their means. Their meannesses.
What they might have gleaned that time, or this.
If grief were a color we’d be one people.
People of grief. People of a color. Color the people
What is color? A music. Ambient soundscape.
Earth murmurs invisible to the ear.
What is the sound of red or blue or yellow:
Hum of a woman behind a window.
What is color? A line. Horizon red
Or twilight blue.
A line. Stop.
A law. Habit? Design?
Once upon a color. A measure of time in
apples and leaf.
Once upon a passion. A joy.
A before. Time before time.
What is color? To chameleon? To the bee?
What is light to a seed or bloom?
Signal? Sign. Summons?
What is color and light to a field wild, original—
to its scion? Taker. Master?
Is it scripture? Treatise. Proof?
What colors do not appear
on a wavelength of light?
Is pink a color?
The opposite of black
on the wheel of un-colors?
Let’s say white is a blur of colors
our eyes forge of sun,
musics of our vision’s manufacture
out of day, out of night, light from dark.
What is color? A manufacture of my eye.
A sleight of light.
Deception? Illusion. Design?
if only the colored world would dis
appear into a hole of white.
Oh! But grief
would be white. Color less.
Let’s say white is illusion
fusion, is no albino gleaming
absence of color. Is
not a blindness.
Then choose: a color for grief,
a color of feeling.
Wheel of color
Spin. Do not pause
at blue, yellow, red or
green. Can you see the
ultraviolet of grieving?
Of joy? The color of healing?
Do not ask of black.
You may not posit black. Black—
it’s not in spectrum light. Does not
disaggregate. Will not particulate.
a lyric thing.
Blue and yellow, red
Black be lyric.
Opal Moore, a native Chicagoan, is a veteran teacher of creative writing and African American women’s literature. She is the author of Lot’s Daughters, a poetry collection that one reviewer described as “passionate slices of African American womanhood.” Her fiction and poetry have appeared in anthologies and journals, including the Boston Review; Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry, Notre Dame Review, Connecticut Review, Honey, Hush! An Anthology of African American Women’s Humor, and Homeplaces: Stories of the South by Women Writers.
Photo: Deanna Sirlin
Nuno Veiga, Born in Viseu, Portugal is a multidisciplinary artist and teacher whose practice includes sound art, acting, theater direction, video art, installations, teaching, and arts facilitation. Veiga has been working in professional arts contexts since 2001 and graduated in Theater Studies from the University of Évora in Portugal in 2006. In Portugal, Veiga worked as an actor with directors such as Luís Castro, Ricardo Pais, Nuno Carinhas and Jorge Fraga, and as a sound designer and teacher with various institutions, including the National Theaters, Karnart, Balleteatro Professional School, and Antena 2 (National Radio Broadcast- Portugal). https://www.nunoveiga.site/