A Story of Seven Sister: A Tongva Pleides Legend

By Pamela Marx

Illustrated by Debra Vodhanel

Published 2010 Malki-Ballena Press

About The Artist


  Artist Statement:


The process of painting for me is a constant reparation of the faith and commitment that I have tenuously held on to in my own personal history which can be described as both chaotic and stable. A personal history that began with a palpable fear of nuclear winter in the 1950s  merging now in 2020 with a most probably possibility of world-wide climate destruction in the next decade. In between I took refuge in creating a family, loving a life partner, raising two children, trying to create within our small interior life as a family love, comfort, and security. I work toward, and pine for, an existence of predictability, comfort, security, and meaning; an existence that I doubt humankind has ever really held onto for long, but somehow feels more real than reality. 


My paintings start with blind optimism. Onto wood panels laboriously prepared with layers of beautiful, pristine, white ground I toss something luscious, something definitely not white. It is always something I am fond of, oil paint pigments mixed with medium most likely. I look at the surface. And then I toss something else, look some more, do something else. I look a lot, thinking about what can happen. I love the tactile possibilities of paint mixed with whatever. I love mixing up the colors, playing with the mediums. I am fond of archival materials, I use processes historically vetted for creating visual wonder. I follow the rules. Then I add my own rules, when I can’t think of any reason why not. 


I have faith in the reality of my painting object, my art object. I have faith in its permanence. But I also doubt it will be permanent. I seem to need to make it real, I want to add to it real things from my real life, useful things, things I can find around the house like furniture polish, egg yolks, plaster patch, coffee, coffee grounds. Stuff I thought at some point in the past I needed in order to keep a house and family from falling down the rabbit hole. Stuff left over. I don’t have to look far. I might add paint remover or rubbing alcohol. A splash of water never hurt. Ruined linens. What can stain? These are to me new combinations with no known ken of success. I almost try to fail, try to make a mess I can’t get out of. Standing on the edge of a precipice feels familiar. 


And then I choose. I choose to pull myself off the edge, refuse to prioritize accidental causations. I commit. I pour, scrap, brush, wipe, until the remaining layers of shape, color, and texture coalesce into something formally sensible, however strange it looks. I have faith in the visually, formally, sensible. 


I look for an image I have not seen before, but somehow recognize. Something that contains meaning hovering just below conscious identification, more powerful than anything I could consciously try to make. I don't know what it is but I know I want to know. I want to know what’s worth my while. I work toward uncovering my purpose.


I was born in Los Angeles in the 1950s and I still live in Los Angeles. 2’ x 4’ is my common size for individual wood panels, both horizontal and vertical. Some panels are meant to be exhibited flush to each other, either horizontally or vertically, jelling into a work larger than you can take in all at once, meant to be scanned over time. 


Education: 


I was trained as a painter at

Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts: Atelier M. Nallard, Paris, France

Art Center College of Design: Pasadena, California

Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture: Skowhegan, Maine

I have a B.A. Degree in Philosophy (U.C. Santa Cruz) and a M. A. Degree in Human Development (Pacific Oaks College). 


Exhibitions: 


"Let's Hang@ArtShare Salon" Group Exhibit: ArtShareLA; Los Angeles, California

"Vs." Group exhibit: Gallery 825; Los Angeles, California 

August 17 - September 6, 2019

"Out There" Group exhibit: Gallery 825; Los Angeles, California

June 22 - June 28, 2019

"Perimeter VII" Group exhibit: Art Share LA; Los Angeles, California

November 10 - December 1, 2018

"Summer Salon" Group Exhibit: Art Share LA; Los Angeles, California

June 16 - July 10, 2018

"Out There" Group exhibit: Gallery 825; Los Angeles, California 

June 8 - June 15, 2018


Contact:

debrajoanvodhanel@gmail.com

Instagram:

#debravodhanelpaintings