University of Michigan
Artist Statement and Bio
My work is unique in its materiality, process and conceptual basis, and has a psychological and feminist bent at its core.
Like a well worn, well loved security blanket, my work centers on Donald Winnicott’s historical notion of transitional objects and their universal use throughout life…how in the face of contemporary stress our profound, intimate, seemingly irrational attachment to objects helps nurture security, mitigate distress and form our authentic selves, as individuals in general, and women in particular.
I aim to have a distinctive voice in the conversation about elevating the role of women and handcrafted objects to high art in the tradition of Judy Chicago, Rosemarie Trockle, the women of Gees Bend, and others whose work is inspired by countless “unknown women” who have painstakingly handcrafted master works of art with little or no recognition or acclaim.
The antique linen I use is integral both to the conceptual basis and visual aesthetics of my work. Hand woven by women in the 1800’s, it was originally used as bed sheets and duvet covers, security blankets in their own right. The coarse threads, hand stitched seams, and occasional repairs highlight the vestiges of the female hand and engender a sense of strength, authenticity and beauty in that which is genuine and imperfect.
My handling of materials is intimate and engaging as I fold, crease and paint, creating structural dimensionality and imbuing my work with a veritable soul. Collectively termed Self-Help, my titles serve as wry provocations to cope with contemporary life and get comfortable in our own skin.
Deb Lawrence was born in the United States and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan, her Ph.D. from CWRU, and then embarked on a private, intensive course of art school study with Gerald Vandevier, professor emeritus of drawing and painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Her primary studio is located in the outskirts of Philadelphia, but she also maintains an active presence in Cleveland and New York.
Collections Recent Acquisitions:
- 2016 American Greetings, Headquarters, commissioned and acquired two paintings, oil on antique linen
- 2016 Land Studios Metro Health Medical Center, acquired seven paintings
- 2016 Hilton Convention Center, Kalisher Art Advisory, commissioned and acquired six paintings, oil on linen
- 2016 Trentina Restaurant, Chef Jonathan Sawyer's James Beard Award winning restaurant, www.restauranttrentina.com, acquired three paintings.
- 2016 Baker Hostetler Corporate Collection, Christy Gray and Eileen Roth, triptych, oil on linen
- Multiple private collections
- 2017 Summer Exhibition, Cheryl Hazan Gallery, TriBeCa, NYC
- 2017 Solo Exhibition, Cheryl Hazan Gallery, TriBeCa, NYC
- 2017 Group Exhibition, Marcia Wood Gallery, Atlanta, GA
- 2016 Solo Exhibition, Cheryl Hazan Gallery, Tribeca, NYC, http://www.cherylhazan.com
- 2016 Biennial, Korea Bojagi Forum, Seoul, Korea, Bojagi: Living Tradition, Invited Artist http://www.koreabojagiforum.com
- 2016 Art Hamptons, Lawrence Fine Art (no relation), NY, June 2016
- 2016 Art On Paper, Lawrence Fine Art NYC, NY, March, 2016
- 2015 Art Miami Project, during Art Miami Basel, Lawrence Fine Art, Miami Florida, Dec, 2015
- 2015 New Voices, July 2015, Lawrence Fine Art, East Hampton, NY, www.lawrence-fine-arts.com
- 2015 Art Southampton, Lawrence Fine Art, Southampton, NY, July 9-13
- 2015 Art Hamptons, Lawrence Fine Art, Hamptons, NY, July 2-5
- 2015 The May Show, juried exhibition, curated by Tom Huck and Lauren Davies, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2015 Artsy, Lawrence Fine Art, East Hampton https://www.artsy.net/artist/deb-la...
- 2015 1st Dibs, Lawrence Fine Art, East Hampton https://www.1stdibs.com/search/?q=d...
- 2015 Boston Art and Design 20/21 Art Fair, Lawrence Fine Art, Boston, March 2015
- 2015 NEO Exhibition, 78th Street Studios, February, 2015
- 2014 Get It Together, CWAL, 78th Street Studios, two person exhibition curated by Daniel Neforos, October, 2014
- 2014 The Steezledorf, Rox Gallery, NYC, curated by Topper Luciani, Paul Longo, and Eoghan Berry, Rox Gallery, 86 Delancey Street, NYC, NY (lower east side), 2014
- 2014 Looking Up, curated by Robert Thurmer, director of The Galleries At CSU, Wooltex Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2014 Solo Exhibition: Self-Help, Naji, Naji and Tekler Gallery, 78th Street Studios, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2014 Transmitting Emotion, curated by Karl Anderson, director of Forum Artspace, 5th Street Arcades, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2014 Painting chosen for textile design printing, Fashion Design Department, Kent State University
- 2014 Painting chosen for EP album cover, Matthew Ryals, Ohio
- 2013 Painting in personal collection of one of the directors of the J. Paul Getty Museum
- 2013 Assembly New York, solo exhibition of original oil paintings, Lower East Side, New York
- 2013 Solo Exhibition, It’s all In Your Head, Wooltex Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2013 Prepare To Be Surprised, group exhibition, Wooltex Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
- 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, Oio
- 2012 Invitational Exhibition, Greenwald Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2012 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, NY
- 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 Fall Exhibition, City Artists At Work, Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2011 National Juried Mid-Year Exhibition, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
- 2010 Invitational Exhibition, Sylvia Ullman American Craft Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2010 University School Exhibition, featured artist, Shaker heights, Ohio
- 2009 University School Exhibition, featured artist, 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
- 2016-present Represented by Cheryl Hazan Gallery in TriBeCa, NYC, NY
- 2017-present Represented by The Bonfoey gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2015 Represented by Lawrence Fine Art (no relation), East Hampton, NY www.lawrence-fine-arts.com
- 2014-present, Elizabeth Sadoff, Elizabeth Sadoff Art Advisory, New York
- 2013-present, Wendy Posner of Posner Fine Art, Los Angeles http://posnerfineart.com
- 2013-present, Christy Gay, GrayHaus art consulting http://www.grayhausstudios.com, and Eileen Roth, Art Space, http://www.artsourcecleveland.com, Ohio
PUBLICATIONS, RESIDENCIES, AND AWARDS:
- 2017 Review in Hamptons Art Hub: http://hamptonsarthub.com/2017/02/1...
- 2016 Contemporary Art Book, featured artist, https://www.facebook.com/contempora...
- 2016 VIEWS Magazine, Interview by Gigi Kracht, collector/curator, Zurich, Switzerland
- 2016 Fresh Paint Magazine, Featured artist, Fresh Paint Magazine blog http://freshpaintmagazine.com
- 2015 Recipient Nesnadny + Schwartz Visiting Curator Program, MOCA Cleveland. Studio visit with Adam Lerner, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
- 2015 CAN Journal, featured on cover and article by art critic, Douglas Max Utter, Fall 2015 Collective Arts Network Journal http://canjournal.org/category/arti...
- 2015 Abstract finalist, ArtSlant, national juried exhibition
- 2014 Featured artist and cover art, Canvas Magazine http://canvascle.com/art-on-the-bra...
- 2014 Winner of Minted/West Elm national juried competition with five painting selections
- 2104 Winner abstract finalist, ArtSlant, national juried exhibition
- 2014 Painting selected for textile printing, Fashion Design Department, Kent State University
- 2014 Painting selected for EP Album cover, Matthew Ryals, Asound
- 2014 CAN Journal, Winter Issue, Someday Is Now, http://canjournal.org/members/deb-l...
- 2013 Interview with Michael K. Corbin, award-winning contemporary art author, Moving Painting Forward: http://artbookguy.com/deb-lawrence-...
- 2013 CAN Journal, Summer, The Elephant In The Room: Prepare To Be Surprised http://canjournal.org/members/deb-l...
- 2013 CAN Journal, Spring, Behind Closed Doors: A Work In Progress http://canjournal.org/members/deb-l...
- 2112 First Place, juried competition, Know Fun, oil on canvas, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Galleria, Cleveland, Ohio
- Artist In Residence, Tile Mural Installation, Shaker Heights, Ohio
- Artist In Residence, Tar Beach Project, University School, Shaker Heights, Ohio
- Niche 2002 Award finalist, Niche Magazine
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, etched on metal with acid, silk screened, 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 intellectually curious and psychologically minded, so pursued a degree in psychology, as well. After receiving my Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan and Ph.D. from CWRU, I embarked on a private, intensive course of art school study with Gerald Vandevier, professor emeritus of drawing and painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art.
I lived and worked as an artist in Cleveland, Ohio most of my adult life. For many years I was the artist coordinator for the Tower Press Building, a burgeoning live/work/loft artist community in downtown Cleveland. I worked hard to empower and elevate the group by obtaining funding and organizing the group toward establishing a forum for regular artist critique as well as mounting more scholarly, curated exhibitions. I also wrote about contemporary art for the Collective Arts Network CAN Journal by linking my contemporary practice to regional and national exhibitions and broader issues of the day.
While still maintaining an important art presence in Cleveland, I recently moved outside of Philadelphia to a charming 1745 farmhouse with a large barn to house my more expansive studio. There's also a carriage house we're converting to an apartment where collectors can stay who are interested in a studio visit with a little respite and tranquility. I'm very passionate and disciplined about my studio practice and now work in my studio full time. I also make a point of traveling regularly to museum and gallery exhibitions as well as major international art fairs.
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