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A_spin_in_the_teacups Thelovethathasnoopposite Pluto_s_pleasure_ A_great_wounding Shut_the_fuck_up Invitation_2_ The_inner_cry_a God_followers__done_this_to_me_ Sloth_1
'rak'rüm (noun);
the back room of an art gallery
where artists and art lovers hang
A Spin in the Teacups (Is A Must), Georganne DeenGeorganne Deen,
A Spin in the Teacups (Is A Must),
2008, oil on linen
© Courtesy the Artist and Smith-Stewart, NY
The Love That Has No Opposite, Georganne DeenGeorganne Deen, The Love That Has No Opposite,
2008, oil on board, collage, 32 x 23 in
© Courtesy of the artist and Smith-Stewart, New York
Pluto\'s Pleasure, Georganne DeenGeorganne Deen, Pluto's Pleasure
© Courtesy the Artist and Smith-Stewart, NY
A Great Wounding, Georganne DeenGeorganne Deen, A Great Wounding
© Courtesy the Artist and Smith-Stewart, NY
Shut the Fuck Up, Georganne DeenGeorganne Deen, Shut the Fuck Up
© Courtesy the Artist and Smith-Stewart, NY
Untitled (invitation), Georganne DeenGeorganne Deen, Untitled (invitation),
2008, acrylic on paper
© Courtesy the Artist and Smith-Stewart, NY
The Inner Cry, Georganne DeenGeorganne Deen, The Inner Cry,
2008, oil on linen
© Courtesy the Artist and Smith-Stewart, NY
God Followers (done this to me), Georganne DeenGeorganne Deen, God Followers (done this to me)

© Courtesy the Artist and Smith-Stewart, NY
The Sloth, Georganne DeenGeorganne Deen, The Sloth,
2007, oil on muslin
© Courtesy the Artist and Smith-Stewart, NY
Pan, Georganne DeenGeorganne Deen, Pan
© Courtesy the Artist and Smith-Stewart, NY
Georganne Deen was born and raised in Fort Worth , Texas. She has lived and worked in Los Angeles, CA for the last 27 years. Her artistic output covers visual art, poetry, music and performance. Deen is represented by Smith-Stewart in New York and Van Horn in Dusseldorf. Artists with whom Georganne Deen has shown: Lara Allen, Claudia Bucher, Le Dernier Cri, Nicole Eisenman, Francesca Gabbiani, Crispin Glover, Samantha Harrison, Jo...[more]

Interview with Georganne Deen

ArtSlant's writer, Georgia Fee, corresponded with Georganne Deen about her work, her show at Smith-Stewart (on view Mar 21 - Apr 27, 2008) and the love that has no opposite...the following is what resulted from their email exchange.

Georganne Deen, A Spin in the Teacups (Is A Must), 2008; Courtesy of Smith-Stewart, NY

Georgia Fee:  Seeing your recent solo-show at Smith-Stewart, I came away thinking your new work was: mysterious, luscious, femme-fatal, magical, aching.  How do you feel about these descriptors?  What words would you select to describe your work?

Georganne Deen:  I don't have any -- I don't think about what it is any more than I think about what I am. I can barely figure out what I'm doing or what it means, never mind finding descriptors.  The one thing I know is that everything I make has a purpose and sometimes I'm the last to know what that is.  I mean this latest body of work was created with the sole purpose of boosting my serotonin but more often than not, the painting has its own agenda and begins revealing it as I am working on it. Sometimes I have to wipe out areas and reconfigure the piece to accommodate the new understanding. It may be telling me something about letting go, or living more fully or how to reinterpret something about myself that I have always hated, and find its usefulness.  If it looks magical to you, I'm not feels like that to me too. I've never understood why more people don't work this way (fame and fortune notwithstanding). It's like getting paid for unraveling mysteries and evolving at the same time.

GF:  Your work often portrays relationships between girls/women and creatures.  Is this Freudian?  Fantasy?  A personal dialogue?  

GD:  I was attempting to enliven the animating presence within me as an exercise in being more present and cutting out the compulsive thinking that robs most of my time.  But then I found that drawing particularly cute animals (like meerkats) and putting them in slightly intimate relationships with women raised my spirits for reasons that I thought would be obvious to anyone living in the modern world but apparently not.  It instantly put me back in touch with the more primal feelings that had been culled out of me before I got out of grade school.  Ruminating upon those beautiful creatures who respond to their creature needs without a care for who is watching or what anyone thinks is like a little vacation of sorts.  The choice of colors, application of paint, the setting and other purely decorative decisions further enhanced this experience.

Georganne Deen, invitation for The Love That Has No Oppostite, 2008; Courtesy of Smith-Stewart, NY

GF:  Your exhibition at Smith -Stewart is titled The Love That Has No Opposite.  What does that mean to you?

GD:  The Love That Has No Opposite refers to a state of conscious awareness wherein there is no distinction between mind and body, this and that.  It is also known as Cosmic Consciousness. Many have experienced this state of bliss through the use of drugs, sex, or through practicing disciplines which expand consciousness   I was trying to create it visually was an experiment but some of the pieces actually succeeded in that regard.  Like alluring travel posters, some promised more than they actually delivered but at the very least, I got out of town for a while and my world looked different to me when I returned.

GF:  Painter, illustrator, poetess, musician, curator - are there other titles?  How do you do it all?  What's the balance or lack of balance between all of these activities?

GD:  Painting, writing poetry and playing music all go together...they compliment each other when one medium can't fully realize the idea and/or feeling.  I never imagined when I was young that I would be an artist.  I only wanted to be a poet but after about the third grade nobody would read my poems unless I illustrated them.  I thought it was truly the cave man's burden and would pass but as you see, it didn't.  Similarly, my piano playing and singing were greeted unenthusiastically to put it kindly. As a result, I tried to make my paintings as intense as poems and music.  But finally it seemed ridiculous to let the vampires of my youth continue to drink my blood so I made up my mind to write and play as much as I wanted to.   And I did and Viggo Mortenson published my first book of poetry and included a cd of some of my songs - he actually added a few sounds here and there. Thurston Moore wrote the forward and contributed a little feedback on a song.  One of my first performances was opening for the Melvins in San Francisco. After all the decades of oppression, I thought I was going to die when the audience actually started responding favorably. I'll never forget that as long as I live--- how long I'd let the opinions of my "loved ones" inhibit my evolution. 

I have only curated 5 exhibitions in the last 7 years so that doesn't eat up too much of my time.  And I haven't been illustrating for the past decade.  But of all the things I love to do, playing music is far and away the most fun.

Georganne Deen, The Inner Cry, 2008; Courtesy of Smith-Stewart, NY

GF:  Can you talk a bit about Texas and the Lizard Cult and your early years as an artist.  Who and what influenced your path?  Have you gone past your dreams or are you still trying to get there?

GD:  That was the best experience I ever had in an art school environment due to a severe faculty member named Lee Davis.  He had a habit of highlighting one's ego when it started bulging out of control. One critique that stands out in my mind hinged upon whether, as he put it, the motive for creating the piece was to be on the cover of an art magazine or to push the wheel of evolution.  No one discusses things like this anymore. Presumably Fanny Mae drove such quaint ideas into extinction. It was a very romantic time to be taking one's pitiful self to the market.  Underground comics had given us license to bare our shameless desires, failures and noble intentions. Actually, most of the artists with whom I exhibit to this day have a predilection for narrative indulgence due to the same early exposure to Crumb and his cronies. That influence can be seen in the multi-layered stories that run throughout my paintings, but that's not apparent to everyone.  Probably a love of old perfume ads and similar ephemera play a larger roll in the appearance of the work. 

I come up with new dreams every other day so it's hard to keep track of which ones came true.

ArtSlant would like to thank Georganne Deen for her assistance in making this interview possible.

- Georgia Fee



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