I currently work in the form of the book, in forms inspired by the book, and in new sculptural media of my own devising. Although the work remains tethered to loose definitions of the book as structure, it is moving progressively into other sculptural and conceptual realms
where materiality, labor, and a passion for the haptic become powerful motivators and themes.
The material that forms the body of the work also comprises its meaning and expression. It is a transmission of energy and intent from my hands and heart as maker to the eyes, mind, and heart of the viewer. Intense materiality in the form of texture and tactility communicates the gamut of human emotions and experience, from the visceral to the ethereal. We are touched by this materiality without knowing exactly how or why.
In the process of working, I try to sidestep my conscious, critical mind and allow a deeply embedded and often repressed sense of flow take over, while remaining fluid, aware and receptive to the visual, visceral, conceptual and concrete directions the work is taking. Achieving and remaining in this sense of flow where potential is infinite is mission critical to my working process. It is also the state that I try to bring those I work with into, for it is in this state of purity, openness and unlimited possibility where new levels of connection and meaning emerge, and purpose, knowledge, wisdom and direction are clarified.
Having worked in the realm of the built environment for many years I am fascinated by the parallels between books and buildings in terms of structure, meaning, utility and
architecture. Each creates public and private spaces where stories are “read” on many levels, often revealing more than their authors and makers ever intended. I try to create such places and spaces of contemplation, realization, and bafflement in my work and to instigate exploration, investigation, and discovery in myself and others.
Debra Disman is a Los Angeles-based artist working primarily in the form of the book, both as a solo practitioner and in the public sphere of community engagement. As a maker and teaching artist she creates work and projects which push the boundaries of the book into new forms and materials.
Her work is shown in museums, galleries, universities and libraries across the US including The Brand Library and Art Center in Glendale, CA, Craft Contemporary in LA, The Long Beach Museum of Art, The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, The Charles E. Young Research Library at UCLA, The University of Puget Sound, and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery.
Growing up in the American Midwest, she is informed by living in France and the San Francisco Bay Area, extensive travels through the United States and Europe, and deep experience as a teaching artist, color designer and principal of ArtiFactory Studio.
Disman was the featured artist for the Big Read in LA in 2016, showing at the Mike Kelley Gallery at Beyond Baroque in Venice, CA; is the recipient of a WORD: Artist Grant / Bruce Geller Memorial Prize in 2016 to create “The Sheltering Book”, a life-sized book structure designed as a catalyst for community creativity; and was commissioned by LA’s Craft Contemporary Museum to create an interactive book for their 2017 exhibition, “Chapters: Book Arts in Southern California”.
She was a Studio Resident at the Camera Obscura Art Lab at 1450 Ocean in Santa Monica in 2018, and has served as an Artist-in-Residence with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs since 2017, working with LA’s diverse communities.
She is a local Artist-In-Residence at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, CA.