Desire Rebecca Moheb Zandi
As an artist interested in craftsmanship and textiles since a very young age, Brooklyn based artist Desire turns her longtime curiosity into art. She breaks the traditional norms of weaving with her own interpretation and technique. Using textiles as an art form, she manipulates the arrangement, adds unorthodox materials and creates painterly surreal compositions that captivate the viewer through their colorful, expressive and bold qualities while at the same time examining the role of women in society and history.
Yasemin Vargi: At an early age you were exposed to weaving through your grandmother while growing up in Turkey. How did you learn weaving and start turning them into art pieces?
Desire Rebecca Moheb Zandi: Textiles are deeply rooted in my family, culture and surroundings, I have always been fascinated about textile fabrication ever since I’m a kid. Four years ago, I got my own floor loom. It is at this moment that things started to get more serious. I started to challenge the traditional weaving practice that I learnt from my grandmother through different medium manipulations. I felt for the first time that I was starting to express myself through an artistic practice and that I could trigger emotions to people.
Y.V: What motivated you to incorporate found materials like plastic and rubber into your art and push it towards a multi- media approach?
D.R: I was motivated by the why not attitude towards material as I was weaving. I find/ gather material of any sort that I’m attracted to. The loom is like the first computer, it has a binary language, it is just wild all the draft patterns you can do, possibilities of forms, line, color through the warp and the weft. I am motivated by the infinite possibility of forms! I am influenced by my personal history with textiles and its countless sculptural possibilities.
Y.V: Your works carry a detailed layout, color scheme, texture and material which may require quite a planning beforehand. Can you talk about the process of creating works from choosing your theme to picking which color or materials to use in the work?
D.R: Warping and dressing up the loom with the draft patterns are the first steps of the process. It usually takes a full day and is the foundation of a new piece. Then when we get to actually weaving my creation process goes with the flow. There isn’t any planning, choosing theme. I don’t sketch the works, I follow how the thread and material move in my fingers. I doodle or paint sometimes what I weave as the piece rolls in the front beam. It’s like starting drawing from the bottom all the way to the top! All the surface manipulations take place on the loom, I synthesize all these materials with the infinite possibilities of the loom into these compositions, landscapes I imagine. The titles reveal themselves once the pieces are over.
Y.V: What type of art are you drawn to and which artists’ works inspire you?
D.R: I find it hard to categorize the type of art I am drawn. Works of Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, Anni Albers, Sheila Hicks, Robert Morris...
Y.V: You use textile art in a way to examine subjects such as the role of women history, gender and domesticity. As an artist who lived in Berlin, Istanbul and NY, what kind of cultural and societal similarities or differences catch your attention in terms of these subjects?
D.R: There are various differences between those 3 societies when it comes to gender equality and how women are perceived. Of course, the biggest difference is between Turkey and the western world but women/men, LGBTQ equality can be improved anywhere on the planet.
Y.V: Are there any upcoming shows or projects you are currently working on?
D.R: A summer group exhibition just opened at The Chimney Gallery x Ulmer Arts in Brooklyn curated by Clara Darrason & Jennifer Houdrouge. I am exposing two very large-scale pieces that are site specifically installed among a collaborative floor piece installation we did with Riitta Ikonen. It is a must-see show featuring 10 different artists in a mind-blowing industrial building - William Ulmer Brewery in Bushwick that was sitting empty since 1920 prohibition era!
It was very inspiring to work, install in the space with the Chimney crew. Show is open on weekends through 7/28. 81 Beaver Street, Brooklyn.
It’s also the last week to catch beautifully curated “Ariadne Unravels” an exhibition of eight artists who work with weaving, tapestry, yarn and thread that I am honored to be part of at Asya Geisberg Gallery (through June 29).