Focus on Art
By Rob Mohr
Deborah Kruger (Fabric Artist), Turbulence
– August, 2018
“The creative process is one of surrender, not control.” Julia Cameron
“I don’t find art—art finds me.” Xill Fessenden, Ajijic
The Bauhaus, a world changing German art and design school shut down by Hitler due to its progressive intellectual and theoretical pursuits, gave flight to fabric art’s stayed images through the woven “Op” art of Anni Albers, and the use of fabric as paint by the Bauhaus weaving master, Gunta Stolzl. In the 1930s and 40s their acts of “creative surrender” coupled with an openness to art “finding them”, has been augmented by the works of contemporary women fabric artists – Ana Teresa Barboza’s evocative landscapes, Olga de Amaral’s nuance colors and textures, and Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga’s transformative materials (see art in link).
Deborah Kruger’s evocative art, her dreams of environmental salvation which draw creative strength from these progressive women artists, is driven by her concerns for the environment and endangered communities of birds. Her art entails an aesthetically, articulated, moral statement about humankind’s willing destruction of life, with a focus on environmental degradation at Lakeside by destructive human overpopulation, and the aggressive reshaping of the lakefront where reeds and other aquatic plants essential to the lives of waterfowl and migratory birds are being dug up by aquatic bulldozers and covered by pavement. This loss has serious implications for the quality of life for all creatures who depend on Lake Chapala’s health. John Gardner, with wisdom, observed, “True art is moral … it seeks to improve life, not debase it … it recovers what is necessary to our humanness.” In just this sense, Deborah brings both morality and aesthetic excellence to bear, as she poetically expresses the risk of humanity’s unwillingness to act.
With energy – and understanding of the important role of art in shaping our humanness – Deborah has created a residency program (360 Xochi Quetzal) which brings creative artists, writers, and musicians to Lakeside on short term scholarships, and provides longer term paid housing within a Chapala based artist colony. By enabling international artists to interact with local artists Deborah helps animate Chapala’s artistic community.
Deborah’s low relief “fabric” painting, Migration, captures the return of migratory birds to Lake Chapala (photo 1), and fills the air with twisting and turning feathers of birds descending in formation. Complex mixing of colors – turquoise, and a variety of complementary shades of red mated with subtle incised messages encoded on each feather – increase the sense of soaring flight and astonishing life imparted by migratory birds. Her complex spatial structures are a key to the multiple messages seeded within her art.
Paid Mexican apprentices make each feather by layering colored materials, with “embedded narratives” which include images of birds, along with shorthand, Yiddish, and indigenous language passages about environmental realities. These near invisible elements, both on a spiritual and artistic level, add complexity and subliminal meaning to her paintings. Deborah shared, “The way there — to be a significant artist, is one feather at a time.”
Working on multiple artworks as a body — Migration, Butterfly Effect, Abandon, and her layered and textured Rapture — creates a spiritual conversation between Deborah’s sight and insight, which, when coupled with her disciplined approach, insures components are well defined and executed, that empowers a sense of dynamic life in each world created.
Her drawing, Shoe Billed Heron, (Photo 2) one of twenty completed during a period of creative reflection, illustrates her deep concern that humanity will not work to save endangered birds. Each drawing stands alone as a distinguished work of descriptive art rich in detail, line color, and evocative form, and speaks volumes about Deborah’s acumen and commitment to the environment and its inhabitants.
Join Deborah Kruger for Turbulence, a major show of her works that will be a central component of Sincronico 3, Chapala’s Third International Contemporary Art Festival, Centro Cultural Presidencia Antigua in Chapala, featuring visual arts, music, dance and literature. You are invited to the public opening of her exhibition on August 4, at 8PM. The exhibition will continue through September 16, 2018.
*(additional photos in the link below)
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com