Oil on Canvas
Marin County artist, Debra Maddox, has been painting and making art her entire life. After her parents gave her a set of oil paints in grade school, she never looked back or doubted her desire to be an artist. After receiving a Bachelor degree in Art Education, Debra completed post graduate work in painting at the San Francisco Art Institute.
“Observing how light, shadow, color, and texture transform shapes and forms into compelling compositions, drives my desire to record what I see in the world around me. My work reflects two components. One is visual and the other is emotional.”
Her body of work examines several themes – water, cycling, and figures in motion. Regardless of the topic, the visual and emotional elements are always constant. Some of her most recent work references images of black and white photography. The monochromatic subjects are less literal, and requires the viewer’s imagination and interpretation to take control. The juxtaposition of the subject and a color-field backdrop takes the image out of the realm of a literal narrative and opens the possibilities of imagination.
Her water series has its early roots. As a college student, she spent summers as a lifeguard with many long hours devoted to gazing at the shimmering water. She observed how light refracted and bounced off of the water’s surface. Later as an adult, she loved swimming under water – a realm that produced a meditative state. Incorporating swimmers, divers, and water as subjects in her paintings occurred organically for her. She focuses on capturing not only the fluidity and reflective nature of the water, but also the motion of the swimmers and divers.
“The reflection of light bouncing off of water, distorting shapes and color, creates another world- a dimension of calm solitude where the subject drifts into an elevated state of being. Submerged in water, one is weightless and free-flowing, leaving the worries of the world above the surface.” In this context, the under water theme serves as an archetype that taps into our collective unconscious.
Her cyclist series focuses on another dimension – the freedom and exhilaration of the ride– being outdoors in the elements with the wind brushing past, momentarily escaping from the daily routine. “Nothing in life is static but always changing.”
As she weaves together all of the compositional and emotional elements, she allows her imagination to take control, resulting in compelling images that only exist in her mind.
Debra’s paintings and images have been selected by jury for the past eight consecutive years to be included in the annual publications, “Art of Northern California” and the “Art of Seeing” by Alcove Books. Her work is in private and corporate collections throughout the United States and Canada.