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InLiquid Artist Profile: Dganit Zauberman

Dganit Zauberman in the studio

Terrane oil on canvas, Dganit Zauberman

Editor's note: This interview with Dganit Zauberman is presented as part of a content partnership with InLiquid.

Where do you live and work?

My neighborhood stretches from the suburbs to the city, and is a combination of the two environments.

We moved to the Philadelphia's suburbs with our small kids in 2006. In that same year, I moved from University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill to the University of the Arts for my BFA. From that time on, I started taking full advantage of what both the city and the suburbs had to offer. It worked very well for me because I am surrounded by art at all times. I also like switching environments, moving from one place to the other.

What is your discipline?

I see myself as a multiple discipline artist. I draw, I paint, I do sculpture, I stitch, I saw, I wrap, and more. Whenever I enter my studio, which is located in the city at the Crane Arts Old School, I enter with a philosophy that "everything is possible." In my studio space is a realm where I feel the freedom to move and create, and to use whatever method is needed.

What are you working on?

Currently, I have three main projects that I am involved in. I have two paintings in progress, one is completely new, and one is an old painting that I felt needed some work. I have one sculpture that I started but am not sure what the final form will be. I also have an ongoing project using Korean handmade Mulberry paper.

Describe your methods for us.

My methods involve a lot of looking and seeing before I ever start. Then there is some readiness to begin. Whenever I start working, I feel as if I am embarking on a journey. There is anticipation and excitement. The material that I use inspires the process. 

I usually start engaging with whatever is in front of me, and by action and reaction there is movement and negotiation between the material and me. Associations then are applied, as well as thoughts and questions. What does it look like? What does it remind me of? What does it feel like?

Later, the process becomes a form of meditation, involved and connected to the artwork and material. Of course, in the process there are added layers of my life experiences, memories, imagination and curiosity that get activated. As I progress, I am constructing a space, a place. 

I enjoy finding organic shapes, like in nature, and am aware of the tangible, the physical "being" of the material as well as the intangible. 

A native of Israel, I was born on a kibbutz where I got a strong connection to the land and an understanding of how important land is to survival. But [in] Israel, the land is also a cause of suffering. In my work, the material transforms and become ground, soil, land, and I aim for that certain emotional and psychological mood.

What's next for you?

At the moment I am focusing on my studio practice. I graduated from the MFA program at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2011. During my time at PAFA, I was very interested in the curatorial process and interned with the curator of contemporary art at the PAFA Museum. 

After graduating, I decided to devote myself solely to making art as an independent artist, which I am currently doing. I greatly appreciate my studio time, yet I am considering pursuing my other artistic interests: either further studying toward a curatorial position at a gallery or a museum, or perhaps becoming a studio instructor. Ideally, I would like to have a position that allows me to continue working in my studio. 

What inspires you?

Throughout my everyday activities, I am a collector of images, feeling, thoughts, memories and experiences. I am observing and absorbing. I love to look at nature and at artwork. Often times, I am amazed by how the lines are blurred between them.

I feel fortunate to be in Philadelphia where I am surrounded by great places: studios, museums and galleries where I can see such amazing art.

Why do you make art?

Part of my art-making comes from the need to better understand my world, my environment, my thoughts and my feelings -- some are verbal, some not. Another part comes from relating to others, sharing my memories and my experiences. The process of art-making for me includes thinking about how to communicate nonverbal thoughts and feelings, and the artwork becomes another form of language, another form of communication.

What do you hope people will get out of your work?

[I hope] that people who see my art will gain understanding of a certain human experience and will be able to the relate to that experience in their own way. For example, I recently received a wonderful gift. A poem was sent to me, which emphasized the best of what I wish people would get out of my artwork. 

The poem was written by a girl. She went with her teacher and 7th grade class to the Main Line Art Center while my painting was on display. Each student in the group had to pick a painting that spoke to them and write a poem about it. 

What wonderful project that combines images and words! As an artist it is sometimes hard to articulate what we attempt to do with brushes, and the student's poem does that. Second, as an artist I aspire to communicate feelings and experiences, and I should never take it for granted when my image is fully captured. 

I was deeply touched by the poem. Her observations and interpretation of my painting gave me the sense that she understood so well what my painting is about. The poem, in a way, enhances my painting. I was truly grateful for that. 

INLIQUID is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to providing opportunities for visual artists and designers, serving as a free public hub for arts information and resources and making the visual arts more accessible to a broader audience through a continuing series of community-based art exhibitions and programs. 
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