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Art in the Details

Debra Greene wants viewers to lean in


Detail of Data Inventory 615, Gray, by Debra Greene

Sometimes the first instinct when viewing a painting or sculpture is to take a step back. But Debra Greene’s work draws her audience closer.

In her solo exhibition Abstract Inventories, Greene trusts the minutia—those tiny details that make her artwork whole—for her contemporary sculptures, now showing at the Sherman Gallery. The gallery is hosting an opening reception tomorrow, September 23, at 5:30 p.m., with a gallery talk with the artist at 4:30 p.m.

Among the work featured is Blue Probable Imprint Tube, a vellum tube, with haphazard gray dots, connected with blue lines, showing through each of the translucent layers—and magically, the dots almost align.

“There is something wonderful about making art and also something somewhat difficult as well,” says Greene. “It is difficult to do because there needs to be discrimination in the making, but not judgment. And often things during the making are messy and I need to have a relationship with what I am making through the messiness.”

In her San Francisco studio, Greene can spend hours painting dozens of brads red and white, then arranging them in a complex design on canvas, or painstakingly collecting red and white paint chips and inserting them into tubes. For her, the process is part of the artistic journey.

“I have a lot of patience,” she says. “Everything takes a varied amount of time. I can spend hours doing the same thing over and over. It is meditative. Sometimes I’m like, ‘What am I doing?’ You really have to have trust in yourself.”

Although Greene grew up in Brookline, Mass., this is her first Boston show. Her work is usually exhibited on the West Coast. She earned a master’s at California College of the Arts in 1997, and the connections she made there are what led her to BU.

Lynne Cooney, exhibitions director for the College of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts, went to school with Greene, and invited her to show her work at the Sherman Gallery.

“I have known Debra and her work for many years,” says Cooney. “I’ve always wanted to work with her.”

Debra Greene: Abstract Inventories is at the GSU’s Sherman Gallery, 775 Commonwealth Ave., second floor, through October 31. The show opened September 21, and the opening reception is September 23, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.; admission is free and open to the public. More information is available here, or call 617-358-0295.

Kimberly Cornuelle can be reached at kcornuel@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @kcornuel.


3 Comments on Art in the Details

  • Anonymous on 09.22.2010 at 9:18 am

    Saw it going up in the GSU. Looks like an interesting show. I was wondering how do you create the ‘vellum tube’ thing?

  • Anonymous on 09.22.2010 at 9:19 am

    What’s funny is I read the description, and I thought: paint chips in tubes? But it actually looks pretty cool.

  • Anonymous on 09.22.2010 at 9:20 am

    Here's what we need:

    More sculpture at BU! More sculpture at BU!

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