I have been painting for as long as I can remember. I feel most at home thinking in shapes, textures, and colors. Painting unlocks a mother tongue for me, a visual language that more easily expresses experiences of an emotional, interior life, about which I am so incredibly curious.
I paint abstractly, intuitively. I bring all of my emotional reactions and my memories of those emotional reactions into the studio with me. I use everything, all I have observed and remember observing. I choose my color palette, my application tools, and my support structure in advance. But everything else is determined by the experience of the painting process itself.
There is no preconceived subject matter, no preconceived composition. Composition and subject are determined by the painting process itself. I do my best to respond to the materiality of the paint. New pieces are started with an accident of nature: either throwing a container of paint across its surface, or scraping across a mess of pigmented wax. I then go about balancing the chaos with the least amount of control I can get away with: making repairs, but not sucking the life out of the work.
I pour, scrape, brush, mark, and wipe bits of it or all of it, until I have claimed common purpose with the remaining layers of shape, color, and texture still clinging to the surface of the work.
Painting is problem solving with a purpose that bends toward clarity and reparation, balance and resolution.
I look to create a history of surface colors, shapes, and mark-making that spirals around questions of identity and attachment. I use paint as a metaphor for repairing human interactions that have broken in some way, have gone awry. It seems our precarious, unpredictable, seemingly non-purposeful world is chock full of broken relationships.
As I paint, I work toward unwrapping the idea that the world can get better, people can heal and are innately good. I look for this possible reality. Sometimes I find it, hidden under layers of distracting activity and noise. And when I find it, I know a painting is finished.
I appreciate the freedom and responsibility that comes with abstract painting, the "what if" possibilities. I reject recognizable imagery in favor of a deeper imagining of what reality may be, what may hover just below conscious identification. I hope that my work is seen by others as open-ended; it is waiting for each viewer to complete the story with their own observations, their own experiences of the world. Titles are the most I will impose on a viewer's experience. I intended my titles to act as sea anchors, as a solid place to start the looking and thinking.
I received my training at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine; Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California; and Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts, Atelier de M. Nallard, Paris, France. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Philosophy from U.C. Santa Cruz; a Masters Degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena, California.
I have exhibited nationally including: Anna Gardner Gallery, Stinson Beach, CA; Artist’s Space, New York, NY; ArtShare, Los Angeles, CA ; Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, CA ; Gallery 825, Los Angeles, CA ; Herron School of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana; James Turcotte Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Joslyn Center of the Arts, Torrance, CA ; Long Beach Art Museum Rental Gallery, Long Beach, CA ; Los Angeles County Museum of Art Rental Gallery, Los Angeles, CA ; Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA ; L. A. Woman’s Building, Los Angeles, CA ; Malki Museum, Moronga Reservation, Banning, CA ; New Orleans Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans, LA ; Norris Theatre, Palos Verdes, CA ; and Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA. My work has been reviewed in the Daily News, Los Angeles Times, and Artweek.
I have worked in graphic design, newsletter publication, website management, and education. I am a founding member of both the non-profit Mt. Washington Childcare and Preschool and the Mt. Washington Kinder-Care Co-op. I developed and supervised ethnobotanical student gardens, including a garden docent program for the Southwest Museum, Los Angeles, CA. I created curriculum and supervised a Native American Project for the Highland Park/Eagle Rock 4-H Club, co-sponsored by California Releaf. I created greenhouse curriculum for the Environmental Science Academy at Walter Reed Middle School, recognized by Mayor Garcetti with a grant award to build a greenhouse science laboratory for the academy. My educational outreach includes ethnobotanical workshops at various school and community locations for children in the greater Los Angeles area. After working for more than 18 years doggedly supporting the ultimately successful curriculum redesign of a large local public middle school into five smaller learning communities more aligned to student needs and interests, I have returned to painting full time, which is my first and primary passion.
"Art Matters" annual group exhibit: Huntington Gardens, Pasadena, California
March 2022 (scheduled)
"Petit Works" online small work group exhibition and sale; Gallery 825; Los Angeles, California, June 19 - July 11, 2021
"Spring Forward" online juried group exhibition sponsored by Rhode Island Watercolor Society May 22, 2021 - June 26, 2021. https://rhodeislandwatercolorsociety.wildapricot.org/page-1860422
“20/20 In Hindsight: Coping, Confronting, and Creating Change”:
ATgallery.art; Department of Marital and Family Therapy with Specialized Training in Art Therapy; Loyola Marymont University’s College of Communication and Fine Art; Los Angeles, California June 5th - August 31, 2021
"Magical Writing" group exhibition; Neutra Museum and Gallery; Los Angeles, California June 5 - June 26, 2021
“The Inner Landscapes (what is the stuff our world is made of?)”: Neutra Museum and Gallery; Los Angeles, California May1 – May 22, 2021
“crossings” online exhibition: Artavita, April 2 - June 2 2021
“Call and Response: Collaboration at a Distance Rounds 11, 12, and 13”: Shoebox Arts Online Art Exhibition, February 3, 2021 - current
"Aurora" online group exhibit and art sale; Gallery 825; Los Angeles, California
November 4 - December 11, 2020
LAAA Annual Exhibit and Benefit Auction: live stream, Gallery 825; Los Angeles, California, August 18 2020
"Habitual" online group exhibit: Gallery 825; Los Angeles, California, July 25 - August 10 2020
"Field of Vision" online group exhibit: Gallery 825; Los Angeles, California, July 11 - 24 2020
"Gleaming Apollo" online group exhibit: Gallery 825; Los Angeles, California, June 2 -11 2020
"Petit Works" online group exhibit: Gallery 825; Los Angeles, California, May 14 - 22 2020
"Seclusion" online group exhibit: Gallery 825; Los Angeles, California, April 9 - 17 2020
"Virtual Exhibit" online group exhibit: ArtShareLA; Los Angeles, California, February 29 2020 - present
"Let's Hang@ArtShare Salon" Group Exhibit: ArtShareLA; Los Angeles, California, November 2 - December 20 2019
"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
Group Exhibit and Benefit Auction: Gallery 824; Los Angeles, California, July 28, 2018
"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
"Culture Factory" group exhibit: One Colorado, Pasadena, California, December 5 1992 - January 3 1993
Solo Exhibit: Colony Studio Theatre, Los Angeles, California, July - October 1992
Solo exhibit: Norris Theatre; Palos Verdes,California, October 1992
Group exhibit: Norris Theatre; Palos Verdes, California, November 1991
Solo Exhibit (artwork was changed quarterly): Wilshire Center Bank; Los Angeles, California
1988 - 1991
"Contemporary Abstractions" Group exhibit: Weingart Center, Occidental College, Los Angeles, California, July - October 1990
Art Auction and Exhibit: Sunshine Mission for Women; Los Angeles, California, March 24, 1990
"Stepps Discovers L.A. Young Artists" Group exhibit: Stepps Restaurant; Los Angeles, California, June 1989 - February 1990
"Recent Paintings" Two person show: Brand Library Art Galleries; Glendale, California, January 9 - February 2 1988
"Obsessions" Group exhibit: Joslyn Center of the Arts; Torrance, California, September 9 - 25 1987
Group Exhibit: James Turcotte Gallery; Los Angeles, California, January 3 - February 8 1987
"New Watercolors" solo exhibit: James Turcotte Gallery; Los Angeles, California, February 4 - March 1 1986
Group Exhibit: James Turcotte Gallery; Los Angeles, California, December 3 - January 4 1985-1986
Group Exhibit: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Art Rental Gallery; Los Angeles, California, February 1 - March 1 1985
Group Exhibit: Night House, L.A. Theatre Works; Los Angeles, California, August 24 - November 1 1984
Group Exhibit: Long Beach Art Museum, Art Rental Gallery; Long Beach, California 1982, May - September 1982
"Summer Show" Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Art Rental Gallery; Los Angeles, California, May 11 - June 29 1979
"Posters, Books, Postcards - By Women" Group exhibit: L.A. Woman's Building; Los Angeles, California, December 15 - January 16 1978 - 1979
Group Exhibit: Anna Gardner Gallery; Stinson Beach, California, October 1 - November 2 1978
"Artwork and Bookworks" Group exhibit: Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art (LAICA); Los Angeles, California, February 28 - March 30 1978
Exhibit traveled to:
Artist's Space, New York City, New York
Herron School of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana
New Orleans Contemporary Art Center
Group Exhibit: Gallery Plus; Los Angeles, California, October 1 - October 30 1976
Reviews & Publications
LAAA Catalog Volume III: Los Angeles Art Association, 2021
LAAA Catalog Volume II: Los Angeles Art Association, 2019
"Book Features Illustrations by Debra Vodhanel", Larchmont Chronicle; December 27, 2010
A Story of Seven Sisters: A Tongva Pleides Legend: By Pamela Marx, Illustrated by Debra Vodhanel; Malki-Ballena Press, 2010
"Local Artists Display Works at Occidental", Star-Review, Highland Park News-Herald & Journal; August 1, 1990
"Artist uses Earth and Ashes for Expression", Daily News; January 20, 1988 Page 2
"The Art Galleries Downtown", Los Angeles Times; February 7, 1986 Calendar Section Page 22
"Woman's Building Anniversary", Artweek, December 16,1978 Page 7
"Quartet Showing Works at Stinson Beach", Independent Journal; October 5, 1978
"The Mailbox as Museum", Artweek, March 18, 1978 Page 5
Member: ArtShare Los Angeles; January 2020 - present
Member: Los Angeles Art Association; 2018 – present
Member: The Studio Source, a community for artists selling online January 2021 – present
Member: Artist/Mother Network “Wearing All the Hats (without losing your head)” January 2021 - present
Sponsor: Art Division; 2018 - present
Sponsor: Art of Peace Club; Walter Reed Middle School, Los Angeles, California 2016 - present
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, inclusion in the Art Rental Gallery; 1979 - 1992
Gallery Representation: James Turcotte Gallery; 1985 - 1987