Just popping in again to point you to Caroline Picard’s interview with Chicago-based artist Deb Sokolow on art:21 blog! (We’ve also interviewed Deb on Episode 201 of the podcast). Caroline asks Deb a bunch of really insightful questions – don’t miss this! A brief excerpt follows; please go on over to art:21 and read it in full.
Deb Sokolow invokes You, the audience. When engaging her workâ€“wall drawings rife with text-narratives that revel in heist, hijinks and mystery, You are not a passive bystander. You are implicated as a character in her web, because she always writes in the second person. I spent some time talking to Deb about that second person device. It strikes me as particularly interesting because of its self-reflexiveness. Rather than sharing the artistâ€™s gaze, looking through the lens of a camera say, the audience suddenly identifies with the model. You/We are in the drawing. You/We are being watched. Deb Sokolow is looking at us. Like an unnerving Welcome mat, Sokolow gives you a platform on which to stand.
Caroline Picard: How would you describe your development as an artist? Do you feel like there are different stages of Deb Sokolow work?
Deb Sokolow: Good question, maybe itâ€™s a question Iâ€™d be able to answer better 10 or 20 years down the road. Iâ€™ve only been working in this current vein since 2003. That year, I was smack-dab in the middle of grad school, and it was the year that I had an art crisis; I realized I didnâ€™t know what the heck I was doing or wanted to do as an artist. I had no personal investment in anything going on in the studio, so I stopped making work. I went home. I watched movies and ate Chinese take-out. â€œThis is so much better than making art,â€ I told myself. But then when I started asking myself what was so compelling about watching movies, I realized that it was the stories, the narrative form that I loved, that I could get lost in. This was an A-ha! moment for me, because prior to this, I was making these blobby shapes out of glue and arranging them on table tops. It was boring. So boring! So I moved into working with the narrative form, making large, diagrammatic drawings on paper or multiple papers, always narrated by an anonymous, unreliable protagonist whoâ€™s only ever referred to as â€œyouâ€ and thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ve been doing for the last couple of years up until a couple of months ago where I decided to make a break with this, keep using the â€œyouâ€ but develop a new framework for the narrative and a new way of presenting it. So, in answer to your question, I guess I could say that Iâ€™ve recently entered dynasty #2, which is actually a pretty exciting place to be. Read more.