Updated: Mar 25, 2021
We offer this interview with Doris Wasserman, a member of the Art & Soul Co-op.
A&S: How long have you been a part of Art & Soul?
Doris: I began taking classes in 2009 and I've been a member since 2010.
A&S: What's your first memory of art and creativity?
Doris: I have a distinct memory of a drawing I did on my bedroom wall. I was probably three or four years old. I recall the drawing because I got in trouble for doing it. In the old house of my childhood (the home my father was born in), plaster walls were made with a variety of ingredients including horse hair. (Weird, I know.) The wall was painted yellow and it felt cold and chalky to the touch. With crayons, I drew a house on the wall, and a tree next to the house. I remember taking a dime into my hand, and with the edge of it, I scraped into the plaster to see what would happen. What happened was a spanking. LOL. (Not LOL.)
One of my best friends in elementary school commissioned me to make drawings for her proclaiming: "Je suis Canadienne!" Friends used to ask me to make drawings for their book reports in elementary school. When I was in high school, a family commissioned me to do a collage-style drawing for their parents in celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary.
A&S: Can you tell us about your art-making process? What's a typical day like for you?
Doris: A day in the studio begins with revisiting my work from the previous day. Sometimes I dig right in; I might begin by pouring fresh paint on my palettes and applying more washes of paint to my canvas. Some days, I begin with a cup of tea that I sip in front of the previous day's work, just to settle back into it – to wonder where it's taking me, question the direction, accept the direction, or re-direct completely. Every day is an adventure.
A&S: Why do you make art?
Doris: I just don't know any other way to be.
A&S: What are you looking forward to in the next year of art-making?
Doris: Over the next year, I hope to explore new materials. My explorations inform my acrylic on canvas works. This year I've had great experiences with cyanotype and collage. Robin Wolfenden (a new A&S member) and I decided to try cyanotype at the same time; she tried it in Connecticut and I tried it here at A&S. We are both in love with it!
Please join Doris for a free reception at OZ from 6-7 PM on Saturday, February 22nd where our very own Nalani Clisset will perform live. Enjoy the exhibition, Nalani's live performance, and stay for OZ's 8 PM presentation of "The Triangle" by New Dialect a contemporary dance troupe. Get your tickets in advance for New Dialect. Find out more here. Note that the reception becomes a cash bar at 7 PM.
About Doris Wasserman:
A Canadian artist living and working in Nashville, Tennessee, Doris Wasserman grew up near the largest known collection of First Nations rock carvings in Canada. She senses a deep connection to the indigenous people who carved images into some of the oldest rock on the planet, near her back yard. The language in her abstract paintings is linked to her fascination with mark-making and symbolism. As she paints, she builds layer upon layer, creating a subliminal narrative within each painting. Washes of color and instinctive marks are characteristic of her work.
Employed as a medical artist at Vanderbilt University and an exhibits artist at the Cumberland Science Museum (now the Adventure Science Center), Doris began a deliberate process of artistic discovery in which her representational work shifted to abstraction. Winning recognition along her way, in 2015 she was selected to participate in the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville's "Periscope" program for artist entrepreneurs. Earning the top award for her talk, she was invited to present it again in 2016 at Belmont University to the Wichita Chamber of Commerce. She was awarded a "Flying Solo" exhibition at the Nashville International Airport and her work was part of an international touring exhibition, originating in Israel and traveling throughout the southeastern United States from 2016-2017. In 2018, she was one of seven artists across the United States selected to create a painting for the launch of the National Institutes of Health's medical research database-building "All of Us" venture. Doris is an activist for the Nashville arts community and an advocate for arts education.
Clothing made with her artwork is available online at VIDA, a socially responsible design house in San Francisco that creates clothing on demand (go to shopvida.com and search "Doris Wasserman"). To learn more about Doris' work, visit her website, doriswasserman.com.