DEBORAH ZLOTSKY: It happened, but not to you

11 September - 11 October 2014

Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is pleased to announce It happened, but not to you, the second solo show by painter Deborah Zlotsky. The show runs from September 11 to October 11, 2014, with an opening reception from 6 to 8 pm Friday, September 12.


In Deborah Zlotsky’s new paintings, forms occupy a charged space that has been worked over and over again, navigating the interstices of past, present, and future. The exhibition title, which comes from a line in the poem Could Have by Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012), emphasizes a fusion between what has happened and imagining what might be.


Zlotsky begins each painting with something incidental and personal — a few colors or shapes, a memory of a tangled pile of laundry or the movement of sunlight through her grandmother’s apartment. From there, she responds to relationships and discovers unanticipated proximities that fuel her decisions: correcting, repairing, adjusting, and connecting parts in a responsive process of accumulation and revision.


Zlotsky’s language of forms and planes play with our assumptions. Some may appear solid, others hollow. Still others appear as open boxes, flaps out, or cubes stacked on top of one another. Our perspective is constantly challenged. Bold, unexpected colors punctuate the work and contribute to the dynamic space. In each torqued rectangle, another moment is revealed. Hints of underpainting, opaque planes and ghostly forms reveal histories of reversals, accidents and change. Drips and smears also mark time, leaving a visible trace of the artist’s hand. The paintings seem to have no beginning or end, with idiosyncratic forms flowing between flat and more dimensional space. Zlotsky draws us into a world where everything is connected.


Deborah Zlotsky, a 2012 recipient of a NYFA Fellowship in painting, has exhibited across the country, including McKenzie Fine Art, Pierogi Gallery and the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. Her drawings are in the curated flat files of Pierogi Gallery and The Boston Drawing Project at Joseph Carroll and Sons Gallery, as well as the online-curated registry at The Drawing Center. Her work was featured in New American Paintings 2014 (Northeast edition), and has been collected by Nordstrom, Progressive Insurance, Rutgers University, the Waldorf Astoria, the New York Palace Hotel and the Albany Institute of History & Art. She has been a fellow at Yaddo, Bemis Foundation, VCCA, Ox-Bow, Millay Colony for the Arts, Ragdale Foundation and Weir Farm Art Center. Zlotsky earned a BA in Art History from Yale and an MFA in Painting and Drawing from University of Connecticut.  She teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design.




It happened, but not to you


The title of the exhibit comes from a line in the poem Could Have by Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012).


 “It happened, but not to you” fuses the ambiguity of what has happened with imagining what might happen: navigating the rich interstices between the past, the present and the future.  When I begin a work, I start with something both incidental and familiar — a few colors or shapes, a memory of a tangled pile of laundry or the movement of sunlight through my grandmother’s apartment. Responding to relationships and discovering unanticipated proximities fuel my actions: correcting, repairing, adjusting, and connecting parts in a responsive process of accumulation and revision. Accidents repeatedly redirect me, blurring my understanding of the differences between accident and intention, memory and history. The rhythm of my process is to continually rupture the interactions between the forms until the work reveals this oscillation and a unique situation emerges. I think of my paintings as chronotopes or palimpsests, conflating time and space within the compression of the canvas. Such confusion is an ordinary, human experience, especially when memories surface and coincide with the unfolding present. Eventually, the mutability of things slipping out of balance creates anomalies in the structures. These shifts and accumulations become a way for me to respond to the necessity of change, and the beauty and complexity of living. As I work, my process both brings me closer to and gives me distance from the friction between intention and coincidence, subtle forces that cause things to happen, which, in turn, shape my understanding of being in the world.


Deborah Zlotsky's new work was supported by generous grants from the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art and the Rhode Island School of Design.