Abstract paintings, with drawing, in oil, wax, and mixed media, of plants and their foliage, interspersed with objects in “still life”, contemplating their shapes and contours, and celebrating the complexity of the natural world and our place in it. Not “or” but “and”; not one thing but many simultaneously. These are works that surmount duality. Both paintings and drawings, abstract and representational, with line and shape, two-dimensional with texture, and a hint of perspectival illusion, some of these works are monotypes mounted to panels, others are painted directly to paper on panels in oil and wax, or encaustic. All have elements drawn and incised. Contours are delineated by edges of wax or paint by graphite pencils or sgrafitto tools. Paint is applied with brush, roller, or hand. Wax is dripped, carved, melted, and layered, then drawn back into. Pattern and repetition leave hints of still life’s narrative, patches of daylight, and memories of movement. My focus on contemplation in a world gone mad provides a small arena in which to gather my forces, to muster my energies, and begin to restore balance to the relationship of Human to Nature. My daily reminder is that plants and trees are intelligent beings that we have disrespected in so many ways, and we must find ways to reconnect. Our roots are in the earth, amid the myriad other forms of life in the soil, in the wind, and in the seas.
Debra Claffey is a visual artist who uses encaustic, oil, and mixed media in her work. She holds a BFA in Painting from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Tufts University and an Associate’s Degree in Horticultural Technology from the University of New Hampshire. In 2011, she received an Artist Entrepreneurial Grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Claffey’s work has won several awards, including the Second Place Award at the Monotype Guild of New England’s Fifth National Monotype Exhibition in May 2018.
Claffey writes a blog, Making Something Out of Nothing. She has curated five exhibitions, the most recent being The Space Between Shadow and Light for the Eleventh International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, Massachusetts in June 2017.
Claffey is a Past-President of New England Wax, and Past President of the NH Chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art.
Raised in Connecticut, educated in Massachusetts, she now lives and works in New Boston, New Hampshire.