“Deborah Wasserman’s work has both mystical and comic elements of path making and path-finding. ‘Transience and flux are the permanent markers in one’s life journey.’ suggests Wasserman. The artist’s vision is sensitive to the conditions of liminality, the inbetween-ness of spaces, both spiritual and material” — Dominique Nahas, curator, NYC.
Central to my work are themes of TRAVEL (Wandering, migration, exploration, voyage, movement) and HOME. Home and Travel are linked in interesting ways: One connotes stability and rooted ness and the other is fluid, moving and 'free'. They also seem to contain each other (home is a place one MUST leave, but you can never fully LEAVE as you always carry your home with you…). Does home refer to the place where you were born or raised or is it a feeling of belonging and contentedness? Is it possible to think of ‘Home’ not as a space, but a state of mind?
Born in Brazil, raised in Israel, and now residing in the USA, I weave my personal experience of travel and migration into my work. Thus incorporated, I choose a poetic, playful and often humorous ways to talk about travel as a metaphor for every one’s time travel through life. I take some of my inspirations from the many jewels of wisdom I find in the Buddhist philosophy. There’s one that I particularly cherish, and it’s the term Migrating Souls. It describes the circular and never ending journey of humans on this earth, as we migrate from one body to another to take on different births and face karmic deeds and imprints from past lives.
This philosophy is illustrated in my mobile installations (Wanderlust, Homeward Found and Far Away, So Close) composed of multiple pieces where their meaning changes with every new organizational pattern. Each different organization takes on the imprints of the installations prior experience and starts a new pattern of its own. I like to think of these installations and their circular motion as compositions in language as well, where narrative and meaning is continually created subverted and questioned depending on their mere order. So much of our understanding and interpretation is depending on syntax, sequence and context…what if the order is disrupted? What is the reading sequence starts (like Hebrew) from right to left?
Probably a direct result of my multi cultural identity, art training and proficiency in three languages (Portuguese, Hebrew and English) is an insistence on working with various media such as painting, drawing, video, installation and text. It’s particularly evident in my painterly practice where I juxtaposed and merge an eclectic blend of painterly style, modes and processes which historically and culturally are set apart. It’s Babylon par excellence!
The references and imagery that I employ varies from abstracted to recognizable imagery evoking the cacophony of travel: Landscapes, maps, vehicles, airplanes, street signs, airports, places, things, people, words.
My mixed media drawings and video (Carry on and on) reflect my interest in the idea of 'taking ones home along’ and carrying (schlepping) luggage, both physical and mental as an expression of one’s attachments and individuality. I compare the body to a suitcase and vice versa as both function as a shell, a container for transporting things and eventually, both wear out and disintegrate like a snake’s skin. In my (In) Site series I also explore the idea of tourism as a ‘mediated travel’ overshadowed by its own documentation where the still photo becomes THE experience.
Although inspired by my personal journey through life, I aspire in my work to be universal and go beyond cultural identifications, politics and religion. I invite the viewer to think about ‘journey’ (made out of multiple paths, side roads, U turns, underground tunnels, reservoirs and swamps, oceans to cross) as a possibility and not as a fixed plan…I empower the viewer to rethink their creative role in planning (and taking) charge of their own travel through time…
Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and raised in Israel, Deborah Wasserman is currently living and working in Queens, NY. She is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts and the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. Deborah Wasserman has received grants from the Experimental Television Center, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Aljira Center for the Arts and the America-Israel cultural foundation. Her work has been exhibited in the USA, Brazil, the Netherlands, Germany and Israel, in such venues as The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Tel Aviv Museum of the Arts, The World Wide Video Festival, White Columns, Gale Gates Gallery, GenArt and A.I.R gallery.
Link to a recent intrview with Leah Oates (NY Arts):
Link to a recent video Interview with John Birdsong (Roger Smith Arts):