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Debra Drexler
"Orange Slide" Contemporary Abstract Painting

2019

$7,500

About

60"x48" oil and acrylic on canvas, signed on reverse by the artist. Hot pink, violet, tangerine and sherbert colors flow into forms or cerulean blue and orange in this abstract painting by the New York/ Hawaiian artist, Debra Drexler. The painting surface incorporates impasto brushwork and poured paint to give an active composition. Debra Drexler maintains studios in both New York and Oahu, and her work is informed by her unique bi-coastal experience. In her luminous, large-scale abstract paintings, she brings the transcendent experience of the Hawaiian landscape to a New York audience. Through her New York based studio and curatorial practices, she is also deeply engaged in critical conversation surrounding new abstraction. She states “Abstraction takes us to a state of timelessness that is primal in its humanity, disconnecting us momentarily from the mediated “now” of our electronic devices, and connecting us to a “now” that gives us a glimpse of the infinite. While our insistent digital projections can take us away from both our animal and spiritual nature, abstract painting reminds us again of what it means to be human. The corporality of the paint mirrors the flesh of the body and transports us into the timeless.” Debra Drexler's paintings are informed both by participating in the contemporary resurgence of abstraction coming out of New York, and by living in the Post Colonial Pacific for close to three decades. In the 21st century, much of our experience is mediated through the screens of our devices. In contrast, the making and viewing of paintings remains a direct, engaging experience in Drexler's paintings. She aims to take us to a state of timelessness that is primal in its humanity, disconnecting us momentarily from the mediated “now” of our electronic devices, and connecting us to a “now” that gives us a glimpse of the infinite. As a colorist, Debra Drexler provokes unexpected color relationships and creates spatial contradictions that come from those interactions. Some of her color choices reference the post digital experience with its highly saturated synthetic color. The luminosity and saturation also mirror the unique quality of light and tropical color interactions in Hawai’i, where Drexler also lives. Her work is driven by an athletic painting process, where she works back and forth between the floor and the wall. Numerous layers, which contrast areas of depth and flatness, organic and synthetic color, matt and gloss surfaces, create complex spatial interactions. Often Drexler adds an unexpected element that deconstructs and flattens and suggests another reading of space and time. "Although the Internet makes all eras accessible at once, I believe contemporary painting must go beyond a mere repetition of historic styles. I strive to create something new, present, and honest in the painting. In a time in which everything seems to be happening at the same moment, forcing us to live in an increasingly distracted and connected present, my work aims to take us out of our distracted state and into a relationship with our animal and spiritual natures that is more grounded, focused, and aware. The fleshy materiality of the paint mirrors our fleshy body; the expansiveness of the painting, our expansiveness." - Debra Drexler Debra Drexler has had over thirty solo and over 100 group exhibitions in national and international venues. Recently, she has also worked with a number of galleries in New York, Brooklyn, and New Jersey, including The Dorado Project (solo, 2016), Van Der Plas Gallery (solo, 2018, 2017, and 2015; three person, 2014), Gallery Gary Giordano (two-person, 2017), and H.P. Garcia Gallery (solo, 2009, 2010)). Group exhibition venues include The Drawing Center, Exit Art, The Curator Gallery, Ground Floor Gallery, Denise Bibro, Sideshow Gallery, Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, Creon Gallery, and Art Finance Partners. She has a forthcoming three-person exhibition at Maui Arts and Cultural Center (2020). In 2017 she received strong reviews in Whitehot Magazine and Arte Fuse, and was featured on The Kalm Report. A recent review (Whitehot Magazine, 2017) described Drexler’s work as clearly referencing the long tradition of American abstraction and the established legacy of the New York School. The reviewer, Jonathan Goodman, however, described the work as a “new non-objectivity” that comes out of the current moment. He states that Drexler’s painting “quite accurately describes the spirit of abstract art today, in which painting is struggling to break free of the constraints of time.” Drexler’s installation, Gauguin’s Zombie, which traveled from the Honolulu Museum (2002) to Maui Arts and Culture Center (2003) to White Box-The Annex, New York (2005), continues to be cited in academic publications such as The Transatlantic Zombie: Slavery, Rebellion and Living Death (Rutgers University Press, 2015), and in Gauguin’s Challenge: New Perspectives After Postmodernism, (Bloomsbury, 2018). Debra Drexler is a Professor of Drawing and Painting at the University of Hawai’i.

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