Born and raised in Nicolae Ceausescu's Communist Romania, Andrea Dezsö received her MFA from the Hungarian University of Design in 1996. A visual artist and writer, Dezsö creates deeply personal narratives across a broad range of media including drawing, artist's books, cut paper, embroidery, sculpture, installation, animation and large-scale murals. Currently she is creating a permanent public artwork for the MTA system in New York City, her second in the city's subways.
Work in many of these media will appear in "Things We Think When We Believe We Know," the artist's first exhibition with Frey Norris Gallery, opening in October, 2010. Rabbit (2009, edition of 12) is a figure in a black jumpsuit, often arranged as a group of multiple figures, which grew out of the artist's residency at a Kohler ceramics facility. These pieces were cast in vitreous china and painted with acrylics, slightly ominous and playful half-life size figures that populate a room with clownish smirks, pot bellies and bulbous bottoms. Dezsö's tunnel books are illuminated manuscripts in cut and painted paper (similar to a once popular and collapsible Victorian form), exploring fables only vaguely articulated in the artist's writing and interviews. Thirty of these tiny narrative tableaux appeared recently in "Slash: Paper Under the Knife," at the Museum of Art and Design in New York. Each tunnel book is rendered in receding layers of richly detailed, hand cut and painted paper - an alien rests in a vineyard, fingers are cut off, a woman's torso is rendered transparent, her organs detailed in intricately cut and bright-hued shapes. Dezsö's recent embroideries - yes, she also sews - reflect aphorisms told to her as a child by her mother, many exhorting her to remain pure and chaste for all sorts of fabulist reasons. These include "A woman's belly starts growing simply from being married" and "My mother claimed that men will like me more if I pretend to be less smart" or "My mother claimed that hepatitis is a liver disease you get from eating food you find disgusting." Some such works, with the "spacesuit" appearance of her figures, often linger on elaborate fantasies born from her childhood experiences. Her mother's tragi-comic truisms and imaginative departures find new life in the new context of the artist's current existence in New York. The fabulist images Dezsö is known for were recently scaled to the size of a building at Rice University's gallery in Houston, where her installation Sometimes in My Dreams I Fly is on view through August of 2010.