October 23 – November 15, 2015
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.” Drexler’s radiant paintings take us to the River’s Edge, where we can reflect on a flow into the sublime.
Debra Drexler has had 28 solo exhibits and over 100 group exhibitions at galleries and museums in New York, Hawai’i, Australia, Berlin and across the states. She has recently exhibited in group shows at Van Der Plas Gallery, including the three-person “Red, Yellow, Orange” (2014), and “Rites of Spring”(2015). Recent New York solo exhibits include: Pool Art Fair, Chelsea Hotel Blue Mountain Gallery, HP Garcia Gallery and Java Studios Gallery. In addition, Drexler has exhibited in group shows in New York including: The Drawing Center, Denise Bibro Gallery, Exit Art, Art Finance Partners, and Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, and Sideshow Gallery. She has been reviewed in Artweek, New York Arts Magazine, and New Art Examiner and numerous newspapers. Debra Drexler is also a Professor of Drawing and Painting at the University of Hawai’i. In October, 2015 she co-curating with Liam Davis “New, New York” at the University of Hawai’i Gallery, a survey examining the resurgence of contemporary abstract painting featuring the work of 30 internationally-recognized New York artists. She has also curated exhibits in New York including at Van Der Plas Gallery, The Lab of Rogersmith Arts, as well as in Hawai’i and Australia.
“I believe in the primacy of painting, painting is enough. Painting stands on it’s own. The new abstraction is not a rehash of Greebergian formalism but unique to our time. Although the Internet makes all eras accessible at once, the developments in contemporary painting go beyond a repetition of historic styles. I think abstraction at its core takes us out of our distracted state and into a relationship with our animal and spiritual natures. That is more grounded, focused and aware. 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. The fleshy materiality of the paint mirrors our fleshy body, the expansiveness of the painting, our expansiveness.”
“I paint to speak to our essential nature. Preparing my mind and body to paint are part f my daily ritual. I practice meditation followed by yoga each morning, so I can approach the canvas empty of everything but my relationship with the paint. The luminosity, which s created through multiple layers of glazes, reflects the refraction of inner light into experience. My work is driven through a orientation towards an athletic painting process, where I work, back and forth between floor and wall. The marks are made with the entire body, in choreography with the canvas. Working on the floor allows for gestural sweeps, applications of thin glaze as well as pooling of painting. The scale is human sized or larger, creating an expansive experience, immersing the viewer within the frame of the painting.”