Site Review: Deborah Weiss

Site Review: Deborah Weiss

An Intuitive Process

By Richard Malinsky, Arts Editor

Deborah Weiss is a painter and printmaker whose work focuses on the effect of atmospheric conditions on land and water over time. Her compositions are inspired by the constant transformation of terrain caused by fluctuating climate and temperature.

Weiss’s process is intuitive, and subject matter not pre-determined. Her creative vision is informed by studying large vistas as well as markings on the smaller organic in nature. Forms begin to appear in her compositions as she adds multiple layers to her paintings, of both opaque and transparent veils of color and texture that conceal and reveal visual imagery.

Most compositions share a similar format of a textured swirling linear section floating in the foreground of a smooth atmospheric space. What distinguishes these paintings from one another is their variations within the linear section to suggest weather patterns, and her exquisite use of color. Weiss does not explain on her site how these graphic patterns are created. However, she is also a printmaker, and they do resemble the concentric growth rings of trees—perhaps these patterns are actually pressed from an actual wood block. Whatever the technique, they certainly fit conceptually.

She captures the essence of a moment in time beyond a literal depiction in her Surveyor series. In “Winter Tide” there is a cold grey winter sky and a windstorm swirling above snow-capped mountains. Hints of earth tones below add dimensional depth.

An abstract oil painting of layers of atmosphere
Deborah Weiss, Winter Tide. Oil on panel, 18″ x 18″ x 1″

Also from this series, I was immediately drawn to the composition in “The Breakers at Twilight.” First, by of the lush seductive blue-green color, and more importantly, by her elimination of any reference to a horizon line. The composition remains rooted in a two dimensional reality without the illusion of perspective. This allows for an interplay of the dark and light patterns in a positive and negative spatial design over the entire flat composition, while still alluding to the blue-green of tropical waters, with currents on the surface and below.

An abstract painting of different layers of a teal landscape
Deborah Weiss, The Breakers at Twilight. Oil on panel, 18″ x 18″ x 1″

In the Small Scale, Big Vistas series, Weiss explores triptych and diptych formats. However, I found these formats did not create a successful serial image flow as in “Mineral Basin I & II.” In fact, each image seems stronger on its own.

Abstract paintings of layered landscapes on cool tones
Deborah Weiss, Mineral Basin I & II. Diptych, each panel 10″ x 10″ x 5″

The jewel in this series is “Oceanic Drift,” with its strong linear movement. This image successfully establishes both the calm and turbulent within an organized composition space.

Abstract oil painting of different layers on a blue background
Deborah Weiss, Oceanic Drift. Oil on panel, 8″ x 8″ x 1″

Her work on paper reprises her painting imagery, but seems compositionally freer, with alternate forms, as in the monotype “Long Shores IV.” Some of these images on paper approach the feeling of Japanese woodblock prints.

Abstract monotype of different layers on a blue and brown background
Deborah Weiss, Long Shore IV. Monotype, 20″ x 20″

Deborah Weiss has exhibited throughout the United States as well as in Western Europe and China. Her work is represented in both public and private collections as well as numerous publications and books. She maintains a studio and residence in Connecticut.

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