Deborah Carroll Anzinger

Washington, D.C. | by December 19, 2011

Before Deb­o­rah Car­roll Anzinger began pur­su­ing art full time she was crunch­ing data and test­ing analy­sis on block­ing HIV in the periph­eral immune sys­tem.  She received her PhD in Biol­ogy from Rush Med­ical Col­lege and relo­cated to DC in 2007 with her hus­band Josh who also holds a doc­toral degree in the same subject.Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Deb­o­rah came to the states to attend col­lege in Bal­ti­more and then Chicago.  She spends time each year vis­it­ing fam­ily and friends back home in addi­tion to Reno, Nevada.  Travel and his­tory are pli­able con­structs that Deb­o­rah uses as inspi­ra­tion in her work, stat­ing that “Paint is a mir­ror for life, and my work stands as a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion of my sub­ur­ban, urban, and rural homes over the years.”Deborah quickly immersed her­self in the DC art scene upon arriv­ing to the city.

She par­tic­i­pated in DCAC’s Spark­plug pro­gram and later took res­i­dency at Pyra­mid Atlantic for two months where she learned screen­print­ing and helped redesign and build their live, work, exhi­bi­tion space.  I vis­ited Deb­o­rah at her apart­ment in Adams Mor­gan on a warm windswept day this past Novem­ber, excited to con­tinue our con­ver­sa­tion that began while installing work together for a show in Octo­ber. Her home is a place where cre­ative energy runs ram­pant.  Step­ping into the large open inte­rior, paint­ings, draw­ings, doo­dles, and wall sculp­tures lurk around every cor­ner. Some are made by Deb­o­rah, some by her young daugh­ter Zoey, and some by her hus­band.  It is a pos­i­tive force to expe­ri­ence first hand.  A pen­tag­o­nal shape drawn on the floor with faded white tape quar­an­tines her stu­dio, located in the back cor­ner of her apart­ment.   “The rules of the house are a try­ing attempt by all,” she exclaimed with a smile.  “Indoor soc­cer games between Josh and Zoey will occa­sion­ally send a soc­cer ball cas­cad­ing into a wet paint­ing.” But this doesn’t bother Deb­o­rah.  The fre­netic ambi­ence of her home sets the tone for the breadth of liv­ing that she dis­tills on her painted surfaces.Her daily prac­tice is rooted in an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach that weds her tac­tile sen­si­bil­i­ties with her aca­d­e­mic aptitude.

Com­bin­ing her back­ground in the med­ical sci­ences with her affin­ity for col­lect­ing things, Deb­o­rah incor­po­rates the vast array of stim­uli that sur­rounds her in a cos­mic soup of art production.Gazing at the mul­ti­tude of work that Deb­o­rah had orga­nized for my visit, I decided to dis­cuss her paint­ings first.  I asked her about “My sis­ter had a pogo stick,” a large paint­ing bisected diag­o­nally with a min­i­mal, pink upper por­tion and fig­u­ra­tive, earth tone bot­tom seg­ment.  Deb­o­rah explained the jux­ta­po­si­tion of forms in her work as a recur­rent theme, rep­re­sent­ing “a frag­mented past and riffs in real­ity.”  The hard-​​edged pink por­tion of the paint­ing sig­ni­fies her love of the aes­thet­ics of graphs and charts while the expres­sion­is­tic under­belly of the paint­ing ref­er­ences her mem­ory of friends and fam­ily back home.  This dichotomy of empir­i­cal evi­dence con­tin­ued around the stu­dio in dif­fer­ent forms.

Hand-​​sized objects play­fully con­structed of sculpy and painted in a rain­bow swath of color rest sus­pended from long nails on an adja­cent wall. These ersatz rep­re­sen­ta­tions of real bar graphs and ref­er­ence sources coex­ist along­side home pho­tos that have been enlarged and recon­sti­tuted in organic and geo­met­ric shapes.  This anthro­po­log­i­cal wall con­fig­u­ra­tion points to Deborah’s fas­ci­na­tion with the sub­ject of con­structed author­ship of infor­ma­tion.  By co-​​opting visual cues from other dis­ci­plines she cre­ates a par­al­lel uni­verse that high­lights the lim­its of all forms of infor­ma­tion to com­mu­ni­cate accu­rately.  “Pho­tos become data and the sym­bols in graphs,” she went on to explain.

Look­ing toward the future, a small tent-​​like struc­ture, painted and tak­ing up the cen­ter of her stu­dio floor, will soon be exhib­ited as a per­for­mance instal­la­tion piece.  This “politi­cized tilt toward a plu­ral­ist idea of shared cap­i­tal” will directly involve audi­ence mem­bers to par­tic­i­pate in the final con­struc­tion of her ideation.   Deb­o­rah is not only tran­scend­ing the con­tent in her work here, but also the medium of paint.

Before I left for the day I wanted to know what kind of ini­tial drive moti­vates her to cre­ate a place where every­thing touches every­thing, cov­ered in a veil of paint.  “Every­thing I do stems from the phys­i­cal joy I get from mix­ing col­ors and the plea­sure received from the gritty like com­po­nents of the process of mak­ing.  Con­cep­tual break­throughs often come from car­ry­ing out auto­mated tasks.”  With influ­ences that stem from both the arts and sci­ences, Deb­o­rah is turn­ing every­day objects into things of ele­vated significance.

For any­one who has never met Deb­o­rah Car­roll Anzinger the first thing you will prob­a­bly notice about her is her infec­tious smile and warm demeanor.   She is smart, polite, and truly shares the con­ver­sa­tion.  She is cur­rently work­ing at DCAC as their Office Man­ager and has work on view at GMU’s Founder’s Hall in Arling­ton as part of a group show enti­tled “New Begin­nings,” curated by Lisa McCarty.  When Deb­o­rah isn’t prepar­ing for shows she is avidly send­ing art­work to clients through Project Dis­patch, DC’s home­grown art sub­scrip­tion ser­vice directed by Chandi Kel­ley. To see more of Deborah’s work, go to her web­site at: www.deborahanzinger.com


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