Deb Lawrence was born in the United States and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan, her Ph.D. from CWRU, and then embarked on a private, intensive course of art school study with Gerald Vandevier, professor emeritus of drawing and painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Her primary studio is located in the outskirts of Philadelphia, but she also maintains an active presence in New York and Cleveland.
Deb Lawrence works with antique, homespun linen that was handwoven by women in the 19th century. Her highly abstract work is distinguished by its unique materiality, process, and conceptual intention. Her work simultaneously comments on three important movements in American arts: the long tradition of arts and crafts, feminist artists' appropriation of these traditionally "female" crafts for their work and, of course, the grid as an underlying basis for abstraction. Lawrence views her pieces as psychologically infused "security blankets," in which she conveys women's internal struggle to feel comfortable in their own skin while simultaneously struggling to be heard and valued in contemporary society.
I was born in the United States and raised in the artsy college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. My parents were big liberal dreamers with artistic and intellectual legs to stand on. As a child, I painted with oil paints, built pots on a potters wheel, etched on metal with acid, silk screened, carved linoleum blocks, learned to weave on large looms, and even tried my hand at marble sculpting. For as long as I can remember I was given the strong message to dream big and pursue whatever my imagination would allow.
While I relentlessly pursued my interest in art, I was intellectually curious and psychologically minded, so pursued a degree in psychology, as well. After receiving my Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan and Ph.D. from CWRU, I embarked on a private, intensive course of art school study with Gerald Vandevier, professor emeritus of drawing and painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art.
I lived and worked as an artist in Cleveland, Ohio most of my adult life. For many years I was the artist coordinator for the Tower Press Building, a burgeoning live/work/loft artist community in downtown Cleveland. Iworked hard to empower and elevate the group by obtaining funding and organizing the group toward establishing a forum for regular artist critique as well as mounting more scholarly, curated exhibitions. I also wrote about contemporary art for the Collective Arts Network CAN Journal by linking my contemporary practice to regional and national exhibitions and broader issues of the day.
While maintaining an art presence in Cleveland, I recently moved outside of Philadelphia to a charming 1745 farmhouse with a large barn to house my more expansive studio. There’s also a carriage house we’re converting to an apartment where collectors can stay who are interested in a studio visit with a little respite and tranquility. I’m very passionate and disciplined about my studio practice and now work in my studio full time. I also make a point of traveling regularly to museum and gallery exhibitions as well as major international art fairs and am in NYC frequently.
- Deb Lawrence