The Country Between Us
Debra Stuckgold's process of art-making is very involved, as noted above; she combines a screenprinting process with a much freer form of paint application that refers initially to techniques of Abstract Expressionism - most often pouring pools of transparent color. Both are done on large sheets of mylar. Each sheet on its own appears like a topographical map, perhaps a goegraphy of an imaginary territory. She dvelops these sheets to be displayed in layers, though, adding an element of collage to the process. The sheets are transparent and installed in these layers with empty space directly behind - allowing light to pass from behind as well as in front. The result is extravagant and near-ethereal, nudging the topograhic image toward a transcendence.
This process was developed out of fascinations in the geological process she discovered while working on a geological dig, and she has recently brought it back to a conversation with contemporary issues of what she sees as her own cultural heritage.
Debra Stuckgold's artist's statement:
As an American Jew, my ability to understand the vast disparity between two peoples sharing one land reached a standstill in December 2008, with Israel’s attack on Gaza and the misrepresentation of the facts in the US media.
My current body of work began with a series of ink pours on mylar. Working outdoors, the ink pours were altered by the course of the wind, creating a balance between randomness and predictability. Pigments of varying weights were mixed to repel each other in the drying process, forming lakes, waterways and a variety of passageways. The result is an organic mimicking of changes that occur in topography over time.
The mylar panels were then joined together, each forming a geographic layer. The transparency of mylar has made it the perfect support for this project, allowing me to construct the landscape in a way that simulates nature. Elements of Islamic repetitive patterning and map elements are interwoven throughout the layers.
My panels rely on poetics more than specificity. They begin with my relationship to both the Jewish and Palestinian diasporas, but rely on the unpredictable nature of the journey rather than a realistic depiction of specific locations. In the end, they speak more of poetics than of politics, and the way in which the two are unquestionably interrelated.