Friday, July 3, 2015

Debra Dolinski, artist

The artist with one of her digital artworks
photo by Ottavio Sosio
Thoughts On My Work
Debra Dolinski

 remember a wall, it was morning; I can’t have been more than 5 or 6. The white surface was scattered with a pattern in cobalt and purple, reflected shadows from the dogwood in bloom outside my bedroom window.  Walls, walls coming together, corners of the room. Crying for hours in the corner at nursery school. Out and in.

Those were my obsessions then, my themes now. Out: the sky: endless, limitless, freedom.  In: shadows, neither dark nor light - ambiguous; doubts.

When I was angry as a child I’d paint flowers. When I finally had a room of my own (my last year at Cornell, summer session) I found light. I’d set objects on a windowsill and paint them. The object didn’t matter: an egg crate; an onion, slightly dented and with the green sprout pointing, it was the sculpted light, carving things up. In fact, later a friend would say your work that year was like a salami, just cutting up slices. I had a show at Cornell of that work and a painting was bought by a collector - a trustee’s wife. It seemed like success.

Later, much later I was already living in Italy - eternal travels. As my daughter was born I was always looking at the sky, the abstract of the clouds, the breathtaking beauty that seemed to mirror the miracle that had occurred in my life. I started “sky diary”, a daily record of the sky, marking the compass direction and the time and location. As my second daughter was born this became my hedge against not working. I would do a sky each day, as necessary in those years as a prayer.

In winter my gaze would turn inward. I would stare at white walls, fixate until they became color. I would paint the subtle mutations of dark and light, thin layers of color one over the other like petals. Later still, when stretching canvases and working 60‘s big no longer seemed my scale, I started photography. I would record the subtle changes on white walls from one hour to the next, the same crack, the same corner of existence. Like Robert Smithson wrote “look closely at a crack in the wall and it might as well be the Grand Canyon”. (Robert Smithson; The Collected Writings). I’m still there and I’m still outside: in and out, light and dark with all the mystery.

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Debra Dolinski, born in Boston 1950, started her artistic studies at the Boston Museum School
when she was still in elementary school. A summer stage at Columbia University with Steven Greene and Alan Kaprow was seminal in enrolling in the school of Art and Architecture at Cornell University where she studied with Steve Poleskie, graduating in 1972. In the same year she moved to Europe, initially for art related travels (which she has not finished) and continues to travel from her base in Italy. In her first years abroad she became a member of the Swiss artistic group “Movimento  22” joining in many group shows held in prominent Swiss museums. She continued her education at the Brera Academy, Milan under the guidance of Luigi Veronesi  spending several years concentrating on color theory. Numerous one person shows ranging from New York to Lugano, Como, Monza, Cant├╣ and Milano. Paul Guidicelli, Franco Passoni, Elena di Raddo, and Stefania Carrozzini have reviewed her work. Debra lives in Como where she has her studio and continues creative art laboratories for children both in public schools and privately.

You can learn more about Debra's digital artworks on her web site:

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