Andrea Dezsö: I Wonder

  • Duration
    January 20 – April 10, 2016
  • Works by
    Andrea Dezsö
  • Curated By
    Monica Ramirez-Montagut

Transylvania-born Andrea Dezsö (1968- ) works at the intersection of art, design, and craft. Much like the former Newcomb College artists and potters (see Newcomb Enterprise), Dezsö revisits, revises, and makes relevant traditional “female” applied arts. Her multi-dimensional ouevre includes embroidery, animation, paper cutting, ceramics, Victorian era inspired pop-up and carousel books, drawings, and, most recently, glass sculptures. Dezsö’s interpretations, delightful perversions of this traditionally demure female craft, conjure the darkly antiquated heart of Transylvanian womanhood in words and pictograms.

Some of her most interesting works subvert the tradition of the “sampler,” a piece of embroidery that offers a religious or moral aphorism. Her 48 embroidered cotton squares titled “Lessons From My Mother,” for example, present bits of Eastern European folk wisdom accompanied by equally wry illustrations. Similarly, Dezsö’s books are introspective works with detailed, colorful drawings that expose the emotional tapestry of female forms in transition through relationships, motherhood, career change, and immigration. The lushly textured pages, often embellished with metallic inks and photographs, are highly seductive and revelatory.

Many works, including her murals, shed light on Dezsö’s own childhood in Romania where families could not travel and often could not shelter their children from dangerous conditions and an inhumane regime. The extreme confinement of her physical world thus led to an expansion of her imaginary world. She explains, “I sometimes work with an imaginary landscape populated by a cast of imaginary characters…girls who never had a chance to live a leisurely childhood—free of struggles and danger.”

Through every iteration, and working across disciplines, Dezsö resorts to dreams, anxieties, superstitions, and subconscious thoughts to elicit an immediate empathy while simultaneously provoking a visceral reaction. Bittersweet, tender yet incisive, and undoubtedly otherworldly, Dezsö’s hybrid and mainly female characters embody a keen ability to manifest emotions and sensations through artworks that unite in an enigmatic, more egalitarian world.

This exhibition was funded in part through the generous support of the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Newcomb College Institute.

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