DENISE TREIZMAN – STUDIO VISIT
Miami, 2022. Interview between Denise Treizman and Amy Boone-McCreesh
Denise Treizman was born in Santiago, Chile, and has lived in New York City, Haifa, Israel, London and Miami; her existence in densely populated cities and the throw away culture that often follows is central to her accumulation driven artwork. Treizman partners found objects with weavings and paintings of her own hand, alongside pieces of trash and sometimes neon lighting. To her, each component holds equal importance regardless of origin and together the pieces create colorful and centered explorations of material and texture. I met Denise while in Miami for art week, attending an open studio even at the Laundromat Art Spaces in Little Haiti. Here we spoke about her work as well as a few upcoming exhibitions in Florida, where Denise recently moved.
A: WHERE ARE YOU FROM/ WHERE DID YOU SPEND YOUR FORMATIVE YEARS, DO YOU THINK THIS HAS ANY IMPACT ON THE WORK YOU NOW MAKE?
D: I was born and raised in Santiago, Chile. I went to school and university there, but I did not study Art. In my early 30s, I moved to the US and got my MFA. So really all of my formative years in the field of art have been here. I did one year of art school at SFAI (San Francisco Art Institute), before eventually getting into the MFA program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. That was really my dream. I became obsessed with New York after spending some time there doing a summer residency. It really blew my mind. It kind of changed everything I had been doing and the way I saw art and my practice. I was into painting at that time. After that time interacting with found objects on the streets of NY I was able to realize that even though my work was a lot about mark making and abstraction, it was not really about painting. I lived and worked in New York for almost ten years and for sure my time there made the most impact on the work I still do.
WHERE IS YOUR STUDIO, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN THERE?
My studio is at Laundromat Art Space, in Miami. I left New York in 2019, when I moved to Israel. We spent two years in Haifa. Then we decided to move back to the US. With two small kids, we wanted to be closer to family, so we relocated to Miami. Weirdly, it is very hard to find studio space in Miami, so I am super grateful to be here at Laundromat and to be part of a community. It is so important as an artist! The work we do can be very lonely and somehow feel competitive, but the truth is we need each other’s support. I have been at this space for a little bit over a year, so still pretty new.
YOU USE A LOT OF FOUND OBJECTS, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW YOU THINK ABOUT THESE ITEMS WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR WORK AND HOW YOU PARTNER THEM WITH THINGS YOU HAVE MADE?
Overall, for me there is no difference between a readymade or a found object and something that I actually created, like a weaving, or a ceramic piece. That’s at the heart of my manifesto as an artist. (not that I have one, but it sounds like a good line to start one!) I mean, I obviously know that I put in a lot more time and dedication into the actual crafting of that piece, but does that make it more important? I really want that piece to be in the same hierarchy as the one found when I combine them in my work. So, for example, when I weave something and it comes off the loom, I really like to think of it as a piece of fabric or a rug that I could have stumbled across somewhere. It’s almost like I’m trying to trick myself into it!
It sounds a bit crazy, but I genuinely like to think of the things I made as if they were found.Thinking like this somehow grants me permission to combine them with other low cost materials and objects in a way I couldn’t, if I felt too attached to something just because I made it… does this make any sense? I also sometimes feel too attached to something I found, especially if I feel that it’s irreplaceable or a one-time find..but I also try to remove that emotional value from it in order to treat it like anything else in my work. So really it works both ways
YOU LEARNED TO WEAVE RECENTLY, CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT PROCESS AND HOW IT FINDS ITS WAY INTO YOUR WORK?
I started weaving during a residency in 2015, at ACRE. There was a loom there, dressed and ready to go. Another resident encouraged me to try it, and first I thought: weaving?! Not for me, I don’t have patience, my work is more immediate, etc. But then I thought, ok why not? I somehow knew I needed to use non-traditional weaving materials and what I had at hand..So, what did I have? Lots of duct tape (as usual!) and also some bubble wrap rolls that I had purchased in order to wrap the ceramic pieces I had produced at that residency. And that is how my first woven work came to life. As my interest in fiber works grew (and also paired with the fact that I was working a lot from home when I was in Israel with a newborn) I decided to go all in and purchase a loom. I was lucky enough to encounter a very knowledgeable and generous weaver in Israel (Ja’el Batyah Hatch) who taught me the basic technicalities (warping, dressing the loom and lots of troubleshooting..) But the actual process of weaving in itself was pretty intuitive and self-taught. I still like to think I don’t really know how to weave, For me it is more about combining materials inside a warp. About creating pattern and texture in order to produce a “tapestry” that can then become part of my installations.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE FEELING STUCK OR DOWN IN THE STUDIO?
Specifically for that reason weaving is great! I can just sit and keep weaving with no plan. Something repetitive, in which I don’t need to think much, where I don’t have to be making something with a specific outcome. Warping on the board, for example, is a very mindless and relaxing process. But hey, sometimes, if I feel that way I might also choose to do something completely non art related, like go to the gym or the beach and call it a day!
WHAT DOES ACCUMULATION OF COLOR, OR MATERIAL MEAN TO YOU?
Accumulation is key to my work, because that is mainly what I do. (And I love that you used that word and not gathering objects or collecting, which is not at all what I do) I guess there is no better way to portray the excess of our society than by the act of accumulation. I accumulate objects and materials simply because I can’t get rid of them in fear that they could eventually find the perfect place in my work. What if I threw something out? Can’t I find something else to use? I probably can. But why should I, if I can just keep it for now? i don’t think I am a hoarder though, I actually have a very particular taste and I won’t just hold on to everything. In fact, many times people try to give me things I don’t actually need or want. And I reject them!
To me, accumulation is just the direct effect of excess. I mean, why do these materials even exist, do we really need them all? No, but they are kind of awesome and we want them. Everyone can relate to that. I really like the idea of accumulation of color that you brought up. I never thought of accumulation in that sense, but I guess why not? I accumulate color too!
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING COMING UP OR ANY WORK ON VIEW YOU WOULD LIKE TO PROMOTE?
I am starting to get some exposure in Florida and being new here I am looking forward to that! Next year in April, I will be showing at the Morean Arts Center in St Petersburg, FL. And then in January 2024 I will be having my first solo exhibition at a museum, at the Coral Springs Museum of Art. So, some exciting challenges and hopefully more to come!