Debra Drexler maintains studios in both New York and Oahu, and her work is informed by her unique bi-coastal experience. Her work translates the inner experience into outer form through a vigorous athletic painterly process. Drexler has had over 30 solo exhibits and over 100 group exhibitions at galleries and museums in New York, Hawai’i, Australia, Berlin and across the states. New York, NY. Her most recent solo New York exhibitions were at Van Der Plas Gallery in 2015 and 2017. In 2016, she also had a solo exhibition at The Majestic Theater curated by The Dorado Project in Jersey City and a two person exhibition at Hawai’i Pacific University. Other recent New York solo exhibits include: Pool Art Fair, Chelsea Hotel Blue Mountain Gallery, HP Garcia Gallery and Java Studios Gallery. In addition, Drexler has exhibited in group exhibitions in New York including venues such as The Drawing Center, Denise Bibro Gallery, Exit Art, Art Finance Partners, and Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, and Sideshow Gallery. Reviews include Artweek, New York Arts Magazine, and New Art Examiner. She is also a Professor of Drawing and Painting at the University of Hawai’i, where she has been since 1992. In October, 2015 she co-curated with Liam Davis New New York at the University of Hawai’i Gallery, a survey examining the resurgence of contemporary abstract painting featuring the work of 30 internationally recognized artists. New New York traveled to The Curator Gallery in Chelsea in 2017. She has also curated exhibits in New York including at Van Der Plas Gallery The Lab of Rogersmith Arts, as well as in Hawai’i and Australia.
“My work is particularly concerned with issues of abstraction in contemporary art and its ability to make the invisible visible. My paintings have explored interruptions, which bend the concept of time and space. Working with abstract space in a manner that is reminiscent of the space of the Baroque I often add a disruptive element, which deconstructs and flattenss and suggests another reading of space.
My work has gradually transitioned from the narrative to move into an investigation of pure paint. Gauguin’s Zombie my first one-person show in New York at White Box Annex (2005) toured from Honolulu Museum. By the time I exhibited “Shadow Play” at HP Garcia Gallery, New York in 2009, the archetypal narrative elements of shadow and tree were overtaken by the quality of paint itself. In my work I often glaze up to 30 layers of paint, creating both depth and luminosity. A review of Shadow Play by Michael Carter for A Gathering of Tribes states: “Like the most powerful abstract paintings of the last century, reproductions can only provide a crude chart of her stratagem; the luminosity of the oils themselves, along with their deft application can really only be truly appreciated in person.’ Paint speaks its own language.”