The Art of Democracy Is a National Coalition of Art Exhibitions
on the Dire State of American Politics Scheduled for the Fall of 2008.

Walla Walla, Washington Exhibition

Sheehan Gallery
345 Boyer Avenue
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 527-5249

Deborah F. Lawrence:
Citizen Artist

October 15 - November 16, 2008

Seattle Post Intelligencer, Dec. 3 2008 Deborah Lawrence the Impeachment Grinch that stole Bush's Christmas

Thirty mixed media collages by Deborah F. Lawrence, addressing a range of social issues. Executed on wood panel and recycled serving trays, satirical works include: My Favorite Pacifists (2008); Trickle-Up Utopia (2006); Super Macho Jingotopia (2005); Shock and Awe Souvenir Tray (2003; Anti-Nazi Service Tray (2001); New Human Pyramid (2007), and other works from the new book, Dee Dee Does Utopia, (2008, Marquand Books), on sale at gallery.

Lawrence's website:

Super Macho Jingotopia (2005)

My Favorite Pacifists (2008)

Statement by Deborah F. Lawrence:

I was raised by creative, nonconformist parents. Progressive politics were discussed at the dinner table. As an adult I consequently find it impossible to ignore the current global climate of war and injustice: that’s why they hold prominent positions in my artwork. In the studio, I’m trying to reconcile my abject horror with my paradoxical compulsion to decorate, maintain a sense of humor, and sustain a little optimism about the human race. Some people call this exercise “satire.” I call it sanity management.

My current work consists of mixed media collages in which I address the theme of cooperation: the notion that in times of stress, humans bond together in groups to comfort and care for one another. Recent research reveals that the impulse to “tend and befriend” presents an alternative to “fight or flight,” which has commonly been considered the natural human response to anxiety and conflict. (Biobehavioral Responses to Stress in Females: Tend-and-Befriend, Not Fight-or-Flight, by Shelley E. Taylor, et al, Department of Psychology, UCLA, 2000).

Lately I have been cutting out flat silhouettes of humans posed in attitudes of cooperation and physical support. These I infill with a seamless layer of fragmented violent images cut from recycled art history texts and contemporary magazines. The finished figures are brimming with images of torture, conflict, and suffering. I place the figures on a ground which may be composed of shredded documents (for example the US Constitution, The Bill of Rights and The Magna Carta), or words and images from advertising, popular culture, and literature.

In these compositions, there’s a tension between the gentleness of the figures’ attitudes, and the rank violence of their “internal experience,” or their surroundings. I believe the product illuminates a meaningful paradox: the human appetite for violence may be more of a habit than a necessity, and the depictions thereof can be used for purposes other than a call to arms.

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