Theresa Daddezio: ‘architecture that contains the human body through an embodied concept of time and place’

Theresa Daddezio

Lives and works in Queens, NYC.



AMM: What inspired you to be an artist? When did you begin expressing yourself through creative avenues?

TD: I came to painting from a background in dance, textiles, and music. I never considered myself as an artist until I realized that creating was a vital part of my life. The first painting class I took completely opened my eyes and shook my world. I remember walking out of the studio and seeing the landscape of upstate, NY in a radically new way; the grass, mountains, trees all aglow with vibrating hues and bands of light. In some sense, much of my work and interest in light and color still reflects this moment of awakening.

AMM: Tell us about your artistic journey: where did you receive an art education, or are you self-taught or currently studying?

TD: I received my BFA from Purchase College and my MFA from Hunter College in 2018. I am from a small town in New York State, near the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. I currently live in Queens, NY where I live and create.

AMM: What ideas are you currently exploring in your work?

TD: In this current series of paintings, I explore architecture that contains the human body through an embodied concept of time and place. This series began after a trip in 2019 to an abandoned bathhouse in Tstaltubo, Georgia. Initially constructed for Stalin and his officials, lay individual basins in the shape of daisy petals that held the recessed human form within eroded marble slabs. These petals, however delicate and evocative in architectural conception, can be seen as a human attempt to contain, shape, and control desired locations in the environment. Through natural and intentional destruction, these places take on a metaphoric pertinence; revealing the impulse to build in the reflection of nature, yet the erosion and re-wilding that overcomes once human presence is at a distance. Impulses to build in the reflection of nature, and the re-growth of life into these constructed spaces become a metaphor for the painting process. Each piece is created sequentially, varying potentials for what each container may hold as gateways into an environment encapsulated by serpentine streams of color. The vertical orientation of my work acts as a door that frames and condenses the edge of my body. Once pressed with the image, the viewer is led to enter a compressed visual space where shapes take near identifiable forms in a fleeting taxonomy of spatial and textural obfuscation that transforms marks into near resemblances of nerves, vessels, or strata of earth. These forms relate to interior physiological space, as areas of texture and flat color overlap to heighten a visual sensation of disassociation. Warm earth tones contrast with more artificial palettes to aid in creating a dialogue between a natural and artificial physicality. These colors become mediators between undulating planes of space, building and simultaneously negating form. Focusing on these spatial negations, I seek to create an emergent and psychological site. Through the metaphor of the body as an architectural container, I explore notions of consciousness, fragility, and sexuality within a painting language indebted to the history of abstraction. These paintings become manifestations of sensual experience, where the tangibility of the present interlocks within layers of memory.

AMM: Which mediums do you use in your work, and what appeals to you about them?

TD: I use oil paint. I am drawn to the viscosity and the way oil paint has the ability to be so bodily but also so strange and otherworldly if pushed to its boundaries.

AMM: What’s next for you? Feel free to share any of your future plans such as exhibitions, travels, residencies, collaborations or any other interesting information relating to your art career.

TD: One year ago I had my first solo show at Transmitter in BK, NY with a conjoining catalogue essay. That winter I was honored to be included in a show at DC Moore Gallery. Prior, I had my senior thesis exhibition for my MFA at Hunter College, and a solo show in Itoshima, Japan during a residency in 2015.
I am currently working on a large mural project and looking to attend residencies throughout the states this summer.

AMM: Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?

TD: Agnes Pelton, Bridgette Riley, Anni Albers.

AMM: Can you share any fun facts about you or something that you like to do apart from making art?

TD: I enjoy a good Karaoke session!

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