Louise Fishman (1939-2021), SAGA, 2010, Oil on jute, 51 x 30 inches
Introduction to the May 2023 Issue
For May 2023, The Art Section presents three dialogues: one between two painters, one between two nonfiction writers, and one between two poets. Each dialogue reveals the processes and ideas that are part of an artist’s everyday life.
I always find it interesting to learn how artists come to know about each other and the conversations that ensue. In 2010, I was in Louise Fishman’s (1939-2021) studio in New York City’s Chelsea. I had decided to visit the women artists that influenced me as a young painter in the 1970s. Louise was the first I contacted, and she welcomed me warmly into her studio. I wrote my first dialogue for The Art Section about Louise, which led me to visit eight other women artists. The resulting conversations eventually became the basis for my book, She’s Got What It Takes: American Women Artists in Dialogue, published by Charta Books in 2013. I was mentored in these dialogues by Hayden Herrera who wrote Frida, the great biography of Frida Kahlo. My conversations with Louise continued. We talked about paintings, painters, and the life of an artist. She told me that Dona Nelson is a great painter and that I should look at her work. In this issue, The Art Section features a dialogue between Dona Nelson and Iva Gueorguieva.
Nelson and Gueorguieva’s conversation is one strand in a web of ongoing interconnections among women artists. Painter Erin Lawlor was my studio mate during a residency at the Rothko Centre in Latvia. I wrote about Erin’s work for her catalogue at the Mark Rothko Art Centre and her exhibition Onomatopoeia. Erin and artist Liat Yossifor held a conversation for TAS in 2018, “Alla Prima: Painters in Dialogue.”
The Art Section’s issue for the summer of 2022 included a conversation between Liat and Iva Gueorguieva titled, “and the gray feather a thrush lost,” a line from the poem "Try to Praise the Mutilated World" by Adam Zagajewski. And now, Iva has given The Art Section this exceptional dialogue with Dona Nelson, closing the circle of necessary conversations among women artists.
Nonfiction writer Tom Junod and I attended a large state university in New York (SUNY Albany) at the same time, but did not know each other, probably because I did not take any writing or English classes. I have read Junod’s articles "Falling Man” and “Can You Say..."Hero"?” in Esquire magazine and saw the movie Won't You Be My Neighbor? based on the latter. As a transplanted New Yorker, I was delighted to learn that since Junod lives outside of Atlanta, we are living in the same place at the same time. I am sure my friends are tired of hearing me talk about the importance of longitude and latitude but I really do think there is something to the idea of place and how it shapes an artist’s vision. I am grateful to Robert Stalker for his conversation with Tom Junod. Though Robert has written for TAS since 2009, this is his first interview. I hope he has found a new passion for connecting with the artist, as well as the work and will continue speaking with and writing about living artists, writers, and musicians.
Our third dialogue is between poet and artist Nicolette Reim and poet Roberto Carlos Garcia, who writes about the Afro-Latinx experience within the African Diaspora. Garcia was born in Harlem (New York City) and is pivotal in supporting poetry that reflects different backgrounds. Nicolette has a global perspective, having translated poetry from Spanish to English, and a great passion for the written word. I enjoyed reading Roberto’s poetry and his dialogue with Nicolette, but when I listened to him read his poem "The Cost," presented in TAS, I gained a new understanding of and relationship to his words. The poet’s voice and the spoken word change everything.
My gratitude to all the artists who have contributed to The Art Section since its beginnings in 2007. It is amazing to realize this journal is now sixteen years old.
Many many thanks,
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 August 14, 2023.
Photo: Marie Thomas