Through her recent projects and exhibitions Debra Drexler has served as a bridge between Hawai’i and New York. Drexler maintains studios in both New York and Oahu, and her work is informed by her unique bi-coastal experience. Staring into the Sun is Drexler’s solo show in Hawai’i explored these solar themes. A previous body of work Gauguin’s Zombie debuted at The Honolulu Museum (formerly Honolulu Academy), and filled the Maui Arts and Cultural Center’s Schaefer International Gallery approximately a decade ago. Gauguin’s Zombie toured to New York as well with Drexler’s first NY solo exhibit at White Box’s Annex (2005). More solo exhibitions in New York followed as Drexler returned to her roots as an abstract painter, investigating making the invisible visible. Drexler’s Brooklyn studio is in the heart of a burgeoning process-driven painterly movement. Recent New York solo exhibits include: Pool Art Fair, Chelsea Hotel (2007), Blue Mountain Gallery (2008) and HP Garcia Gallery (2009 and 2010). In addition, Drexler has exhibited in group shows in New York including Denise Bibro Gallery (2008), Exit Art (2010-11), Art Finance Partners in the Fuller Building Curated by Robert Edelman (2011), Stephan Stoyanov Gallery (2012), Sideshow Gallery (2012-14) and Gallery Onetwentyeight (2013). Drexler received an MFA from SIUE and studied as an undergraduate at Webster University, San Francisco Art Institute, and Northwestern University. She is a Professor in Drawing and Painting at the University of Hawai'i.
Through rigorous contemplative practice I am creating a new paradigm in spatial practice, transforming the painting into an energetic vehicle for healing. These large-scale paintings will translate inner experience into outer form through a vigorous athletic painterly process that is self-reflexive. I am returning to my roots as an abstract painter. This shift resulted from research that I have done into the human energy field and meditation. In the 1980’s, I created a series of abstract solar paintings, as a metaphor for inner light. Recently, I returned to theme with my solo exhibition “Staring into the Sun” at The Arts at Mark’s Garage, Honolulu in 2012. I wish to extend this research to that creates a shift in consciousness for the viewer, through experimentation with materiality. In “Staring into the Sun” I layered up to 30 layers on 6’ x 8’ paintings. In addition to the solar theme, my paintings I am interested in interruptions, which bend the concept of time and space. Working with abstract space in a manner that is reminiscent of the space of the Baroque I often add a disruptive element, which deconstructs and flattens and suggests another reading of space. The goal of this work is to investigate the contemporary sublime, and what that means in the 21st Century. In a world overloaded with sensation I wish to create a sanctuary for the viewer.