Steeped in sunlight on the first heatwave of the season, we descended upon Rebecca Cosenza's home studio in Germantown, NY; someone we know well, and get the pleasure of working with weekly at Instar. We found prints on coffee filters, alternative photographic prints, and all other sorts of treasures. No surprise, except that perhaps giving an artist an opportunity to share their own words it's impossible not to be surprised!
In her own words ...
My name is Rebecca Sienna Cosenza.
Each name has seven letters
And end in
What's your favorite color?
Earth pigments, those umbers, siennas, and ochres,
hazy grey-blue and the shades of amber at golden hour
Name three of your favorite books:
- Poetics of Relation, by Edouard Glissant
- Writing Women's Worlds, by Lila Abu-Lughod
- The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran
Artists that Inspire:
Jenny Saville for her movement away, towards, and through beautiful bodies,
and her memory of touch.
Carmen Amaya for her duende, her technique, and her pants.
Njideka Akunyili Crosby for her process and storytelling.
What is an artist?
an educator at times. What is art?
Art is relation, in constant flux.
Art is communication.
Art is translation between
idea and action,
material and object,
breathe and performance.
How do you define yourself as an artist?
As a biracial artist. A visual artist. A dancer. A collaborator. I define myself as an artist through the objects I create, the dances I perform, the projects I am a part of, the communities I support.
What was a pivotal project that shaped your practice?
My portrait series of Kichwa women I worked and studied with in Ecuador as part of a linguistic ethnographic field site. Questions spilled from this project on the ways in which art can be used to bear witness to and hold space for others.
On the constants in her practice: process. process in iteration. process as shown through form. the processing of memory. the process of being in place, out of place, holding place for someone or something. memory. movement. body, be it body in movement, body as form, or the memory of bodies.
On the value of art: Art is inherently relational. Where there is art, there is reaction. Where there is reaction, there is disruption. Where there is disruption, there is openness and opportunity. It is in this space that art spills through borders and creates the context for something else to occur.
What is your greatest challenge as an artist?
At this stage in my career,
allowing myself to continually redefine
what my artistic practice looks like as
I move between different studio spaces, mediums, and time schedules
—and remembering that mindfulness is as valuable as object making in a sustainable practice.
What has been a victory for you as artist? .