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Deborah F. Lawrence, Dee-Dee Does Utopia

The Frieda & Roy Furman Gallery, Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th Street, Plaza Level, 212-875-5622
Upper West Side
June 29 - July 31, 2007
Reception: Wednesday, July 11, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

A public conversation with the artist Deborah Lawrence and Sean Elwood of Creative Capital will take place at the Furman Gallery on July 14, from 3-4 pm. Admission is free.

Dee Dee Does Utopia is a new series of meticulously crafted collages that explore popular concepts of the sublime. For this project, artist Deborah F. Lawrence combined images and texts to illuminate results of a survey she conducted following the 2004 Presidential election. With the support of a prestigious grant from Creative Capital Foundation, NY, Lawrence has completed a series of 22 collage-based works on paper, board, and recycled tin serving trays.

Prompted by her own dismay at the results of the recent presidential elections, the Seattle-based artist sent a mass e-mail in November, 2004, posing the question, “What does Utopia look like to you?” Lawrence asked for visual and physical descriptions of what people envisioned as the ‘ideal’ world.” To date, she has received over 17,500 words in response from teaching colleagues, students, fellow artists, feminists, writers, strangers, and a peace activists’ group. The top contenders for Utopia? Beloved pets, beach scenes, and impeachment scenarios.

This complex series brings together elements garnered from the survey responses, as well as utopian concepts culled from literary and historical sources. The imagery represents the artist’s flights of free association, linking many ideas of idealized environments—from the natural (mountain landscapes) to the fabricated (architecture from ancient and contemporary civilizations), layered in surprising formations and integrated with text that evokes medieval illuminated manuscripts. In “Beachtopia,” for example, Lawrence creates an extremely crowded seaside scene with hordes of people frolicking with beach balls near Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty and Ando Hiroshige’s Wave.

Components of “Dee Dee Does Utopia” were featured in a solo 2006 exhibition at the Provisions Library Center for Activism and the Arts, Washington, D.C. “Even at a distance their colors and jumble of words are arresting. Closer inspection reveals a world that rivals Mughul painting in its attention to miniature detail and rhythmic orchestration of space…” Frances DeVuono, Artweek, Sept. 2006.

Deborah Faye Lawrence has had solo exhibitions at the Provisions Library, Washington D.C.; The University of Pennsylvania; The Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, Spokane, Washington; the UCLA Art Library; Catherine Person Gallery and Esther Claypool Gallery in Seattle; as well as at many other venues. She has received funding and awards from the Creative Capital Foundation; The National Endowment for the Arts; Artist Trust; Washington State Arts Commission; The Gottlieb Foundation; the California Arts Council; the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; and the Seattle Office of Cultural Affairs, among others. Lawrence received an MFA from Claremont Graduate University in California, and is a member of the graduate faculty at Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. You can learn more about Ms. Lawrence and her work at her website,

You can learn more about Creative Capital Foundation at their website,
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