Artist Statement

Artists create lexicons – brushstrokes, marks, scrapings, drips, motifs – and use them to create nonverbal “stories”. Viewers take pleasure in “reading” these visual art works.

Most of Debi Pendell’s recent works are investigations of semiotics, language, and meaning based in the format of landscape painting. Concentrating on abstract elements of recognizable shapes and characters in combination with materials and processes, Pendell plays with symbols of both visual art and language and how people “read” them and make meaning from them.

Letters, numbers, math equations and such are used abstractly, serving as value, texture, pattern and spatial indicators. Trees, birds, circles, and other images are also symbols. The illusion of space is explored; created and thwarted. Viewers successfully combine the disparate imagery and find meaning in the gestalt of the combination.

Many viewers mistake these works for encaustic. But no wax is used, only acrylic gels and mediums. The main process of these works is collage, along with painting, drawing, and mixed media. Often viewers don’t recognize the collage because the process embeds the elements within layers of acrylic.

Not always landscape and not always thickly layered, Pendell’s other work includes collage done in a more traditional fashion; the gluing of paper to paper, canvas or board. The landscape format is still in play, the collage process is plainly evident, and the physicality of the materials and textures is paramount. In some her recent works the letters, numbers, trees, birds, and other symbols are entirely left out or used only minimally, the acrylic encaustic is missing or is much thinner, and rectangles and triangles might suggest the possibility of dwellings. In others, there is no recognizable imagery at all and even the landscape format begins to disappear. Pendell is playing with the line where abstraction and representation merges and diverges.

Debi Pendell Artist by debipendell.com