Artist Statement and Biography
I am intrigued by the power of color, line, and space to tug and convey in infinitely compelling ways. From the outset, I have been interested in depicting authentic, spontaneous emotion and experience in colorful, abstract ways, finding beauty and satisfaction in that which is intensely genuine and ultimately imperfect.
My work has both abstract visual appeal as well as an underlying conceptual basis. I am fascinated by the inner workings of the mind, conscious and unconscious thought, impulse and defense. Like a well-worn and well-loved security blanket, my work takes Donald Winnicott’s notion of transitional objects one step further and focuses on what we say to ourselves and others to nurture security, mitigate distress, and become separate, unique individuals, comfortable in our own skin. Hence, titles such as Look The Other Way, Obsessing Won’t Help, Two Steps Forward One Step Back, and Keep Your Head Above Water.
My handling of materials is intimate, engaging, and even wrenching. It’s not exactly a coincidence that I work directly on the floor, from all four sides, literally manhandling my canvases as I fold, crease, tear, scribble, spray and paint, imbuing them with a veritable soul. Despite allusions to formal geometry, misshapen line and form prevail, creating tension and interest.
My hope is that my work evokes viewers’ own personal narratives, and that the inevitable, highly personal range in what’s seen and experienced, ultimately adds depth to the layers of meaning existent in my paintings…much like Rorschach inkblots, which I have begun to more deliberately reference in my paintings. In the end, I hope my work stirs, provokes, and evokes in highly personal, evolving ways, causing viewers to look, then look again, finding new meaning over time, and in the process, remain alive and relevant.
I was born in the United States and raised in the artsy college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. My parents were big liberal dreamers with artistic and intellectual legs to stand on. As a child, I painted with oil paints, built pots on a potters wheel and fired them in our basement kiln, etched on metal with acid, silkscreened, carved linoleum blocks, learned to weave on large looms, and even tried my hand at marble sculpting. For as long as I can remember I was given the strong message to dream big and pursue whatever my imagination would allow.
While I relentlessly pursued my interest in art, I was restless, intellectually curious, and psychologically minded, so also decided to pursue a degree in psychology. After receiving my Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan, I went on to graduate school, earning my Ph.D.. But my art roots would not rest, so I embarked on a private, intensive course of study with Gerald Vandevier, Professor Emeritus of drawing and painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art. I am very passionate and disciplined about my studio practice and paint virtually every day. I also make a point of traveling regularly to museum and gallery exhibitions as well as major international art fairs.
SELECT EXHIBITIONS, COLLECTIONS AND REPRESENTATION:
- 2013 Painting in private collection of one of the directors of J. Paul Getty Museum
- 2013 Represented by Posner Fine Art, Los Angeles
- 2013 Solo Exhibition: It’s all In Your Head, July, 2013, Wooltex Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2013 Group Exhibition: Prepare To Be Surprised, July, 2013 Wooltex Gallery, Cleveland, OH
- 2013 Assembly New York, solo exhibition of original oil paintings, Lower East Side, New York
- 2013 National Juried Mid-Year Exhibition, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
- 2013 Solo exhibition of original paintings, First Place, Volunteer Lawyers of the Arts, juried competition, Galleria, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2013 52 Weeks 52 Works, juried, featured artist, AGC, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2012 Invitational Exhibition, November 23-December 21, 2012, Greenwald Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2012 Inaugural Exhibition: Locally Grown, Juma Gallery, Shaker Heights, Ohio
- 2012 Juried Arts Quarter exhibition, curated by Barbara Tannenbaum, curator, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2012 National Juried Exhibition, Brenda Taylor Gallery, Chelsea, New York
- 2012 Area Artist Exhibition, Butler Institute Of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
- 2012 52 Weeks 52 Works, juried, featured artist, AGC, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2011 See Art, Create Art, curated by Mark Cole, curator, Cleveland Museum of Art, Convivium Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2011 Cleveland Creates, Cleveland Artists Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2011 Plain Dealer, Fall Exhibition, City Artists At Work, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2011 National Juried Mid-Year Exhibition, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
- 2010 Invitational Exhibition, Sylvia Ullman American Craft Gallery, Cleveland, OH
- 2010 University School Exhibition, Shaker heights, Ohio
- 2009 University School Exhibition, Hunting Valley, Ohio
- 2007 One Woman One Art, featured artist, Opus Gallery, Woodmere, Ohio
- Juried Exhibition, Judy A. Saslow Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
- Don Drumm Studios and Gallery, Akron, Ohio
- Lazars Art Gallery, North Canton, Ohio
- Ann Arbor Art Festival, Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Represented by Posner Fine Art, Los Angeles, California
RESIDENCIES, PUBLICATIONS AND AWARDS:
- 2013 Interview with Michael K. Corbin, award-winning contemporary art author, Moving Painting Forward: http://artbookguy.com/deb-lawrence-...
- CAN Journal, Summer, 2013, The Elephant In The Room: Prepare To Be Surprised http://canjournal.org/members/deb-l...
- CAN Journal, Spring, 2013, Behind Closed Doors: A Work In Progress http://canjournal.org/members/deb-l...
- First Place, juried competition, Know Fun, oil on canvas, 2012, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Galleria, Cleveland, Ohio https://www.clemetrobar.org/Section...
- Artist In Residence, Tile Mural Installation, Onaway School, Shaker Heights, Ohio
- Artist In Residence, Tar Beach Project, University School, Shaker Heights, Ohio
- Cleveland Plain Dealer
- Art Business News
- Niche Magazine
- American Style Magazine
- Niche 2002 Award finalist, Niche Magazine