Debra Smith

Bio

Debra Smith was born in Kansas City in 1971 and raised in Hannibal, Missouri. 

“I am not a poet or someone who draws, but I feel that my use of vintage textiles as a medium brings a history, a weight, a poetry to the work before I even begin to cut, sew and piece the work back together. Allowing the work to intuitively flow thru me the end result is similar to a drawing or poetry.”

Pursuing her interest in fashion and textiles, Debra Smith studied at the Italian Academy of Fashion & Design; Lorenzo de Medici in Florence Italy before receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute with a major in Fiber in 1993 and an Associate Degree in Applied Science from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2002. 

Breaking all stereotypes associated with textiles, from ideas of craft to that of “women’s work” Smith’s pieced images have a strong language that is much more similar to that of painting.

In 2012 Smith was honored as one of the Women to Watch 2012: Focus on Fiber & Textiles from The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC

Her work has been shown internationally over the past two decades, including solo & group exhibitions: Spring Revival, Markel Fine Art, NYC (2013), Release of Time, Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art (2012), In-between Spaces/ New work, Roswell Museum & Art Center, Roswell, NM (2010), Looking to The Left, Julie Saul Gallery, NYC (2008), Sense of Presence, Davidson Gallery, Brisbane, Australia (2004), Celestial Navigation, Vancouver, BC (2002)

After living in Brooklyn, NY, for over a decade, Smith returned to her native Midwestern roots in 2004. She now lives in Kansas City, where she continues to create art from vintage textiles.

Solo Exhibitions

2017    Following The Thread, Markel Fine Art, New York, NY

2017    Recent Work, Olson-Larsen Gallery, West Des Moines, IA

2017    Recent Work, Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, MO

2016    The Thread You Follow, Daum Museum, Sedalia, MO    

2016    Women’s Work: Points of View, Volland Store Art Center, KS

2015    Shifting Territory, Solo, Markel Fine Art, New York, NY

2014    New Work, Olson-Larsen Gallery, West Des Moines, IA

2014    Shifting Territory, Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, MO

2013    Release of Time, Post & Beam Gallery, Berkley, CA

2012    In-between Spaces, Isaac’s Gallery, Roswell, NM

2011    New Work, Olson-Larsen Gallery, West Des Moines, IA

2010    New Work, Roswell Museum & Art Center, Roswell, NM

2009    Textile Show, Olson-Larsen Gallery, West Des Moines, IA

2008    Looking to the Left, Julie Saul Gallery, New York, NY

2008    New Work, Olsen-Larsen Gallery, West Des Moines, IA

2008    Looking to the Left, Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City, MO

2005    New Work, Pearl Gallery, Kansas City, MO

Selected Group Exhibitions

2017    Summer Show, Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, MO

2017    Fellows Show, Studios INC., Kansas City, MO

2016    Elmhurst Art Museum, New American Paintings: Midwest Edition, Elmhurst, IL

2016    Mirror Mirrored, Washington Project for The Arts, DC

2015    Materialities: Contemporary Textile Art, Sandra J. Blain Gallery at Arromont, TN    

2015    Rijswijk Textile Biennial, Rijswijk Museum, The Netherlands

2015    Look&Listen, DUSK, Saint Chamas, France

2014    DUSK Open Studios Exhibit, Pencil Factory, Greenpoint Brooklyn

2013    Spring Revival: a group exhibition, Markel Fine Art, New York, NY

2012    Women of Focus on Fiber 2012, UMKC Gallery, Kansas City, MO

2012    Women to Watch 2012, KC Jewish Museum, Kansas City, MO

2011    Push, Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City. MO

2011    Somewhere, Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City, MO

2011    Group Show, Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City, MO

2010    Fellows Show, Isaac’s Gallery, Roswell, NM

2010    Selections from The Kansas City Collection, Cocoon Gallery, Kansas City MO

2010    Kansas City Flat Files, H&R Block Art Space, Kansas City, MO

2010    Group Show, Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City, MO

2009    Group Show, Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City, MO

2008    Kansas City Flat Files, H&R Block Art Space, Kansas City, MO

2007    Group Show, Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City, MO

2006    New Work, Olson-Larsen Gallery, West Des Moines, IA

2005    Kansas City Flat Files, H&R Block Art Space, Kansas City, MO

2005    Group Show, Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City, MO

2004    Group Show, Davidson Gallery, Brisbane, Australia

2004    Open Studio, Williamsburg Art Tour, Brooklyn, NY

2003    New Work, Pencil Factory, Brooklyn, NY

2002    Celestial Navigation, Convergence, Vancouver, BC

Projects

2018     New American Paintings, No. 137, Midwest Issue

2015     Rijswijk Textile Biennial, Rijswijk Museum, The Netherlands

2015     New American Paintings, No. 119, Pg.128-131

2011     Studio Assistant for Jason Pollen, Penland School of Art & Craft

2009    R.A.I.R., Roswell Artist in Residence Program (Sept. 2009-Sept. 2010)

2008    Creative Capital Professional Development Workshop & Retreat, Kansas City, MO

2008    Featured lecturer at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO

2007    Featured lecturer for the New York Textile Society, New York, NY

Selected Press

2018    Mirror Mirrored, A Contemporary Artos Edition of 25 Grimms Tales. Page 284

2015    RIJSWIJK Textile Biennale Catalog, Page 74-77

2015    Textiles Around The World, (book) by Ellen Baker, page 45

2015    New American Paintings  #119, (book) pages 128-131

2014    Elizabeth Kirsch, Kansas City Star, Debra M Smith, September 18, page 16

2014    Kate Hackman, The Kansas City Collection, 2014-2015, pages 30-31

2012    Vanessa Kahin, In-Between Spaces, VISION Magazine, (cover), Page 4

2010    Blair Schulman. KCArtistLink, Artist Profile / Meet Our Artists

2010    Dana Self, The Kansas City Collection, 2009-2010, pages 36-37

2008    Elizabeth Kirsch, Kansas City Star, Debra M Smith, Looking to the Left

2007    Nancy Corwin, Surface Design Journal, “Uncovering the Surface: SDA Conference Exhibitions” i

Selected Honors & Awards

2014    0ne of 160 artists from 26 countries chosen to be in new publication TextileART around the world

2013    Award winner at: In.ter.face, 17th International Surface Design Exhibition, Southwest School of Art, San Antonio, TX

2012    Women to Watch 2012: Focus on Fiber, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC

2010    The Kansas City Collection, a competitive juried art collection organized by The Collectors Fund, Kansas City, MO

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