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Deborah Faye Lawrence

Open Carry

Deborah Faye Lawrence uses satirical collage as a political and psychological tool. Aligned with personal, domestic and global issues and events, her work—rendered on canvas, paper, board and recycled metal serving trays—reflects a decades-long interest in social justice.

Deborah Faye Lawrence. Open Carry, 2016. Fabric and paper collage on canvas. 40 3/4 x 34 3/4 inches. Photo: Lynn Thompson
  • November 6 - December 2, 2016
  • Opening: Sunday, November 6, 6:00 — 8:00 pm

The words “Open Carry” do not appear in the U.S. Constitution, but the First Amendment guarantees our freedom of expression. Lawrence thinks of this statement as an invitation to wear her convictions on her sleeve. Exposed and legible, not cloaked in politeness.

In the last decade, especially since 9/11, her studio work has been influenced by an evolving appreciation of the role of the American flag in our culture; the way in which it is used, and what it symbolizes. By physically arranging the red and white stripes and stars with superimposed text and imagery, she honors antecedent American quilters and critiques our nation’s practices of incarceration, racism, gender bias, violence, imperialism, environmental turpitude, and the privatization of health care.

Bertolt Brecht said, “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.” Lawrence’s scissors must be sharp.

About the Artist

Born, raised and educated in Los Angeles, Deborah Faye Lawrence is a longtime artist and arts educator. She moved her practice away from tightly controlled watercolor paintings to the more expressive, less structured medium of collage as a student in the mid-1970s. Since then, her frustration with the status quo, defiance of authority, rebellion against political conservatism, and impatience with the art establishment have been asserted in her work in one way or another.

Lawrence’s collages have been widely exhibited and published and she has received numerous grants and awards, including the 2015 Twining Humber Award for Lifetime Achievement in Visual Art. She has lived with her husband in Seattle since 1993.