Deanna Sirlin has a unique concept that uses space, color, and light to create an artistic immersive experience. I saw Sirlin’s exhibition a few years ago in Atlanta and enjoyed stepping into the space where her art seamlessly coexists with architecture while drawing you in to explore. Depending on the time of day, her colorful transparent panels will create different combinations of light and color. It is endlessly captivating.
At the end of each exhibition, the color leaves and the space becomes empty again. That is a beautiful transient moment when the memory of something lives on in our minds. It is a perishable art, only living that moment. It’s another magnetic layer that pulls the audience in – to experience that fleeting moment of transition during the exhibition.
Her installations work very well with performing arts such as modern dance or intimate concerts. They become alive in intertwined art forms, changing and evolving, all while seducing the viewer.
Enjoy exploring this evocative exhibition in Portugal, dear reader.
Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director
Zest & Curiosity
Deanna Sirlin in her Own Words
Color when it is suffused with light that has a luminosity and intensity that I utilize in my work. Light that has movement, it illuminates and transforms the environment with color.
My interest is in the interaction of color and shape when the attribute of light is added, the structure is based on affinities and inclinations between and among the elements.
My art revolves around the language of painting, light, and color in the contexts of the times and places where the works were once made. Contexts that inevitably influence my choices.
While I have diverse approaches in making art — painting, installation, public art, writing, and other projects — I participate in two ongoing dialogues. The first and more immediate dialogue is with the viewer when I place my images in their field of perception. Through my art I am part of a historical continuum of artists who intertwine color and light.
Deanna Sirlin: STRATA at the Fundação Eugénio de Almeida Portugal
Without a doubt, Évora is a city stratum based on multiple layers of cultural, social, and political strata. Starta synonyms are layers, seams, levels, and cross-sections. Yet it can also reflect society with its all complexities by grouping people who are in similar socio-economic circumstances. In nature, strata come in many layers.
Furthermore, the Foundation (Fundação Eugénio de Almeida) has offered a regular schedule of initiatives around contemporary art and music, the promotion of knowledge, reflection, and debate of ideas. It was a perfect space to show Deanna Sirlin’s STRATA exhibition.
Dear Readers, let’s enter and enjoy this unique and mesmerizing installation art.
Deana Sirlin – Let’s Enter the Exhibition
Deanna Sirlin captured the city’s axial depth with her primary creative material: color. The artist has already narrated, on several occasions, the remarkable physical experience of color stemming from her New York childhood. A physicality that thus presides to the present day in her mixed-media painting and creation works.
Her printed digital compositions display color in combinatorics that result from accumulation and overlapping processes, displacement and juxtaposition, free experimentation and axial vectoring. The color lines, recurrent in his work, are distributed in horizontal and vertical layers, simultaneously corresponding to the archaeological modeling of the city-strata.
A chromatic stratification that calls the visitor to the history of the city and, in particular, to the history of the building of the Old Palace of the Inquisition, with which they dialogue in the first instance.
Deanna Sirlin Contemporary Stained Glass as Medium
While the color is distributed in abstract and formal geometries, history spreads through the walls of the galleries. The first floor basks in the light of the day, then spills outside during the night, increasing the enjoyment of the work and the questions that it launches over the city.
Deanna Sirlin – Collaborative Project of Dance and Art
During the Deanna Sirlin STRATA exhibition, other artists were invited to develop performances from the exhibition material. The lines, colors, and framing of the twenty windows of the Center for Art and Culture occupied by the installation of the Deanna Sirlin were the pretexts of this dialogue while exploring the materiality of the exhibition. Three brief scherzi, where the creators inhabit and resignify the exhibition, are made visible in the video dance.
The film is a marvelous project of dance, light, film, and art in collaboration with Deanna Sirlin’s STRATA exhibition. This evocative film is now finished and published. Enjoy these marvelous videos.
“3 Scherzi 4 Strata” is curated by José Alberto Ferreira. It is choreographed by Nuno Veiga and Ana Silva while music is composed by Filipe Sousa, Kate Smith, Nuno Veiga for the each strata.
Immersive Environment and Modern Dance
Like a transitive variation in classical painting, immersiveness places the observer within the expanded pictorial space, in a chromatic dive with the city in the background. Then there she is, waiting for our gaze …
Deanna Sirlin – Q & A with Artist
What drew you to this artistic medium that utilizes light as a component of art?
I am a painter whose primary interest is color. While it passes through color, light becomes a kind of intervention into the architectural space. Light mixed with the color that moves with the sun is an interactive vehicle for the viewer. The viewers become part of the art while colored light projected through the artwork enters their physical space.
Where are you drawing your inspiration from?
My inspiration has always come from painting and nature – of course, each in equal parts.
How did you work with space in the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation Art and Culture Center?
The architecture, the building, and its history were my silent partners. There are 20 windows in six galleries that I addressed with STRATA.
What makes you happy?
I was so happy that STRATA could be realized and remain on view for a year during the pandemic. STRATA has been a source of joy and healing for so many visitors to the exhibition.
Thank you, Deanna, for sharing insights and your process with us.
Deanna Sirlin Bio
Deanna Sirlin was born in Brooklyn, New York, and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Also, she holds an MFA Painting from Queens College, CUNY, and a BA in Art from SUNY Albany.
Sirlin has received numerous awards, such as
- Rothko Foundation Symposium Residency
- A grant from the US Department of State
- Yaddo Foundation Residency
- Creative Capital Warhol Foundation Award in the Art Writing Mentorship Program
Sirlin also had notable solo exhibitions at
- The High Museum of Art in Atlanta
- Ca’ Foscari Venezia in Venice
- The Centre for Recent Drawing in London
- The Contemporary in Atlanta
- M55art in New York, among others.
At this time, her current exhibition is Deanna Sirlin: STRATA at the Fundação Eugénio de Almeida in Evora, Portugal. It will be on view until June 6, 2021.
Photos are by the courtesy of the artist. Photographer is Francisco Pereira Gomes.