My work is rooted in drawing which I define, following anthropologist Tim Ingold, as “an indelible record of the pressure of the fingers on the pencil that makes it, driven by impatience, control, or anxiety of the maker… an archive of the maker’s muscle.” I draw from a faded memory bank of images, root systems, lava flows-archetypal systems of growth, flow and movement-that I wrestle into an abstracted, affective experiential state. The additive and subtractive processes used in in the making of all my work results in a sedimentary layering, an abstracted geology of elements, in which the history of their creation remains visible in the final image. Any mis-step becomes incorporated into the physicality and density of the surface. Their fragile, rich surfaces reveal a tension between collapse and renewal. I believe this process most parallels nature’s phenomena in which the unpredictability of the elements in nature slowly but continually reshapes the contours and topography of our landscape. Some of the works on paper start with embossed monoprints using deconstructed parts of my installations as the printed material. Over these prints a variety of collage materials are added, including paper pulp, black hot glue, charcoal and graphite. Some works use paper tape to create the glyphs and gestures.Their materiality connects the haptic with the optic resulting in a heightened sense of fragility and temporality.
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Debra Weisberg is active nationally and internationally. She has exhibited at the Paper Biennial in the Netherlands; Art in General and East Hampton Center for Contemporary Art, New York; and in the Boston area, the Art Complex Museum, Duxbury; Danforth Art Museum; DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum; Gallery Kayafas; Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts; Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University; Dedee Shattuck Gallery; VanDernoot Gallery @ Lesley University; Trident Gallery; Catamount Arts.
Weisberg was a recipient of the Denbo Fellowship at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Hyattsvile, Maryland in 2020 where she pursued her exploration of paper and embossed monoprints. Facebook Boston commissioned Weisberg to create a 22-foot long tape installation for its corporate office in Cambridge (2017). Weisberg has twice attended the MacDowell Colony and was awarded an art residency in Can Serrat, outside of Barcelona, in June 2009. In 2008 she was a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship winner in drawing.Weisberg was a Somerville Arts Lottery winner in 2001, 2004, 2008, and 2015. Her forty-foot high installation at the DeCordova entitled (Sub) Surface won an award for best museum installation (2003) from the Boston Art Critics Association. Her individual works have entered numerous collections including the Sonesta Hotel and General Hardware Manufacturing Company in New York.
As part of her studio practice, the artist collaborates regularly with students on large-scale, site-specific dimensional drawing installations using predominantly tape. These include Somatic (e) SCAPES at Milton Academy, 2015 (144 x 244 x 24 inches) and Swoop 2013 (144 x 480 x 36 inches) at Wheaton College.
In addition to teaching at Boston College and Massachusetts College of Art And Design Graduate program, Weisberg is an energetic invited lecturer. Her talk, “Material Drawing: Exploration and Connectivity,” was presented at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning (2014) and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (2018). This paper which examined the material of making, preservation of the senses and its educational implications in the digital age was also presented at University College, London (2014). An iteration of this talk was given at the Broad Institute (2018), a biomedical and genomic research center located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She also holds creativity making workshops in corporate settings and was a creativity consultant at the Meditech Corporation for seven years.