Artist Statement-Deb Lawrence
My work has a unique materiality, process, and conceptual basis. Like psychologically infused security blankets my work deals with women’s internal struggle to feel comfortable in our own skin and external struggle to be heard and valued in contemporary society.
I typically work on antique linen textiles, hand woven by women in the 1800s, originally used as nightshirts, bed sheets, and mattress covers. My handling of materials is intimate and engaging as I crease, cut, layer, stitch and paint, creating structural dimensionality and instilling them with a veritable soul. 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 what is genuine and imperfect. Collectively termed “self-help,” my titles serve as wry, internal provocations to get comfortable in our own skin and cope with contemporary life.
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 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.