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“There is the space where a thought would be, but which you can’t get hold of. I love that space. It’s the reason I like to deal with fragments. Because no matter what the thought would be if it were fully worked out, it wouldn’t be as good as the suggestion of a thought that the space gives you. Nothing fully worked out could be so arresting, so spooky.”
“The Art of Poetry No 88”
The Paris Review, Fall 2004
My work is an investigation of abstraction’s capacity to engage beauty and tension without justification or narrative. In my paintings and works on paper, references are suggested, not identified; meaning is organic since images mingle, shift, and position themselves within a field of agitated or flat color. Within these works, inspiration springs from diverse sources sponsored, in part, from the views of gnarled and jagged trees and bark from the woodlands surrounding my home, discarded shards of construction debris, and constant encounters with the internal and external world. In this odd combination of elements, the initial mark prompts the starting point. Hesitation and agitation of brushstrokes within the gesture are revealed as content. Incompleteness—the unfinished fragment of what “almost was” and “might become”—amplifies meaning. In this orbit, painting explores what I consider as embracing the unpredictable and accidental. Accepting this means assumptions are suspended and discoveries may emerge. This edge of conflict and sequence of processes, including scraping and repainting, fresh forms, and constructed imagery, becomes the elemental act of painting.
- Deborah Dancy is a multimedia abstract artist whose paintings, drawings, digital photography, and small sculptures play with the shifting intersection between abstraction and representation. Her many awards include a Guggenheim Fellow, a Yaddo Fellow, the American Antiquarian Society William Randolph Hearst Artist and Writers Creative Arts Fellowship, and the National Endowment of the Arts NEFA award. Her work is in numerous collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; 21c Museum; the Baltimore Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Birmingham Museum of Art; the Hunter Museum; the Detroit Institute of Art; the Montgomery Museum of Art; the Spencer Museum of Art; the Hunter Museum of Art; Vanderbilt University; Grinnell College; Oberlin College Museum of Art; Davidson Art Center; Wesleyan University; and the United States Embassy, Harare, Zimbabwe. She is represented by Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, NYC; Robischon Gallery, Denver; and Marcia Wood Gallery, Atlanta.
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