RISD Faculty Stories

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New Faculty on View

09/11/2013

Vumb (2011, powdered graphite on mylar, 55 x 55")

Deborah Zlotsky, a newly appointed assistant professor in Foundation Studies, makes paintings and drawings that blur the line between intention and coincidence. “I draw and paint for the same reason I read a good novel,” she says – “to find out what happens.”

Now focused on teaching Foundation Drawing studios at RISD, Zlotsky is also currently showing a series of blown graphite drawings on mylar in LifeLike: Deborah Zlotsky, a show that continues through September 27 at the Atkinson Gallery on the campus of Santa Barbara City College in California.

“I manipulate powdered graphite on sheets of mylar through a process of drawing what I imagine I see as the velvety material is spread, painted, blown, erased, wiped and smudged,” Zlotsky says of the series. “While the results are fictitious, the concreteness of the illusion I conjure up raises questions about what we identify as natural and credible.”

Before joining RISD’s faculty this fall, Zlotsky taught for 17 years as an associate professor of art at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Last year she served as the MFA Artist-Teacher at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and prior to 1996 she held longer-term positions at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

“In both my drawings and paintings, I work responsively, constantly altering relationships in a process of accumulating, assembling and revising,” Zlotsky says in describing her process, likening it to nature. “As I adjust one relationship, another slips out of balance. Although abstract, the work comes out of a personal awareness of the complexity, subtleties and coincidences of being in the world.”

In 2012 Zlotsky won a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Painting and
First Place in the New Directions juried exhibition curated by Susan Cross of Mass MoCA. Her work is included in the public collections of a number of colleges and universities, along with those of the Albany Institute of History and Art, Nordstrom, Progressive Insurance, the William Benton Museum of Art and Sioux City [IA] Art Center, among others. It’s also included in the curated slide registries and flat files of Pierogi Gallery, the Boston Drawing Project at Joseph Carroll and Sons Gallery, and The Drawing Center. Zlotsky holds a BA in art history from Yale and an MFA in painting and drawing from the University of Connecticut.

Later this month, Zlotsky’s paintings and drawings will go on display in a solo exhibition at Saint Joseph’s University Gallery in Merion Station, PA. The show, Or Something Like It, will run from September 27 through November 1.

– Simone Solondz

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tags: Foundation Studies, faculty

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In the Painting studios students and faculty pause to consider works in progress.