Artist Statement-Deb Lawrence
Deb Lawrence was raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan and now lives and works outside Philadelphia. Lawrence’s paintings, while two dimensional, are rich with sculptural elements. Whether hanging suspended from a clothesline revealing their undersides, or mounted in deep profile frames in a free, undulating manner, her layered textile paintings create an engaging and dynamic installation. Comprised of creased, cutout, layered, painted and stitched fragments of linen textiles her works stand on their own yet also create a lively dialogue. “I’m elevating the lowly security blanket,” Lawrence states, “building entirely new soulful creations out of cherished fragments from the past. I reinvent discarded shards of well loved textiles in novel, intimate ways, instilling them with a veritable soul.”
Antique textiles, previously used as nightshirts, bed linens and mattress covers, are creased and coated with layers of paint, creating striking dimensionality. Others are layered with leftover cutouts from the studio floor and brushed with acrylic paint and marble dust, then reassembled into novel compositions with waxed linen cord like a textile jigsaw puzzle. The coarse threads, hand stitched seams, and occasional repairs highlight vestiges of the female hand and engender a sense of strength, authenticity and beauty in what is genuine and imperfect. Titles serve as wry “self-help” provocations to get comfortable in our own skin and cope with contemporary life. Lawrence’s works are varied yet weave a common thread that renders them unmistakably hers.
Like a well worn, well loved security blanket her work deals with women’s internal struggle to feel comfortable in their own skin and external struggle to be heard and valued in contemporary society. “My work is my way of mending insecurity and weaving women back into the global tapestry where they belong.” Her work pulls from Pediatrician/Psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott’s early theoretical work on transitional objects. Lawrence aims 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 Trockel, 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.