Artists create lexicons – brushstrokes, marks, scrapings, drips, motifs – and use them to create nonverbal “stories”. Viewers take pleasure in “reading” these stories.
Most of Debi Pendell’s 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 used as abstract symbols in the same way.
In her newest works, Pendell uses the motifs of trees, letters, equations, etc. only sparingly, focusing on creating abstract, nonspecific landscape spaces painted in acrylics over an underlying base of textured collage. The collage provides a structure on which the painting can rest, loose and free. Pendell’s work is neither defined fully by abstraction nor representation, rather it plays with both the joining of the two and the ways they remain dissimilar.
Often viewers mistake Pendell’s works for encaustic, however only acrylic gels and mediums are used. She bases her paintings in collage and employs painting, drawing, and mixed media. Layers of the clear acrylic encaustic-like treatment embed the collage elements within layers of the various processes and materials.
Debi Pendell’s work can be viewed on her website, debipendell.com, and in her Eclipse Mill studio by appointment.