Deanna Sirlin’s Wavetable, on view in the lobby of 211 East 43rd Street, New York, includes seven recent paintings, all 7 feet by 5 feet, arranged in a line that turns a corner. Produced between 2020 and 2023, at the height of the pandemic, the paintings in Wavetable offer an eye-popping meditation on connections. As the world went into lockdown and our interactions and connections with others were circumscribed, Sirlin explored interaction and connection through these paintings.
Sirlin’s paintings in this exhibition are vertical images built of layers of horizontal brushstrokes. While this horizontality may be taken to suggest landscape or sky, the vertical orientation of the canvases simultaneously challenges such associations. What the horizontal brushstrokes evoke is lateral movement and connections, as if each image seeks to transcend its frame and reach out to the world around it. In To Be, wide bands of purple, red, green, blue, cobalt, gold, and light blue overlap and bleed into one another. Passages of pure color emerge from blended areas and recede back into them. In places where the paint is thick, it reflects light, becoming almost like the varnished sheen of old master paintings. By contrast, the bands of color in Good Morning Starshine are narrower, giving the painting an entirely different energy. The strokes are more scumbled, busier, and brushier. The palette, made up of blue, ombre, greens, and splashes of pink, is lighter than that of To Be, making the work seem more playful.
Toward the bottom of Hello Hello, green and brown passages look almost representational, pushing toward a seascape, reminding one of Monet’s The Cliffs of Pourville, Rough Seas, 1897. Where that painting begins in representation and moves toward abstraction, Sirlin’s begins in abstraction and pushes toward representation.
A wavetable is a graphic representation of a sound wave that affords endless variations on a given sound. Sirlin’s variations on a vocabulary of horizontal bands of color is analogous. Through modulations of palette and texture (a word also used with respect to sound), Sirlin evokes a seemingly infinite range of emotions and atmospheres, from the relatively well-defined areas of color in Long For that seem to be at ease with one another to the more turbulent relationships of Hello Hello. In addition to color and texture, Sirlin’s work is very much about gesture, the physical movement of the painter’s body as she deploys a loaded brush. This is another way in which the theme of connection—and of post-pandemic reconnection–comes through the exhibition. The paintings are connected to and in dialogue with one another due to their shared visual vocabulary and physical proximity. The artist reaches out to connect with the viewer through intimations of her presence in the physical actions recorded by her brushstrokes.
All paintings are Acrylic on Canvas, 84 x 60 inches
Deanna Sirlin: Wavetable/Paintings March 18 – August 14, 2023
211 East 43rd Street
New York, NY, 10017
The exhibition is on view 24/7 in the Lobby of 211 East 43rd street, New York, New York 10017 through Monday, August 14, 2023.
All photos courtesy of Deanna Sirlin
About the artist: Deanna Sirlin was born in Brooklyn, New York, and received her MFA in Painting from Queens College (CUNY) where she studied with Robert Pincus-Witten and Charles Cajori. Sirlin’s recent solo exhibitions include: Wavelength at Chastain Gallery of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (Atlanta, GA); Watermark, Gilbert Price Library, Crosland Tower, Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA); Strata, Centro de Arte e Cultura of the Fundação Eugenio de Almeida (Évora Portugal). Her installation, Borders of Light and Water, was included in Reflections, a collateral exhibition of the 59th Biennale di Venezia (Venice, IT) curated by the European Cultural Centre, Italy. Sirlin’s work is in the collection of the High Museum (Atlanta, GA); MOCA GA (Atlanta, GA). Shenzhen Institute of Fine Arts; (Shenzhen, PR China); Mark Rothko Centre (Daugavpils, Latvia); Kunsthaus Nürnberg, (Nürnberg, DE) among others. She has been an Artist-In Residence at the Mark Rothko Centre (Daugavpils, Latvia); Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, NY); City of Nürnberg (Nürnberg, DE); Cini Foundation (Venice, IT); and Château de Padiès (Lempaut, FR). Sirlin recently received a Warhol Foundation Grant for a new work to be shown this summer in Atlanta. Deanna Sirlin is currently an Artist-in-Residence for the Midtown Alliance Atlanta and Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.