debra stuckgold

Debra Stuckold's Headshot That from which these things are born
That by which they live
That to which they return at death
Try to know that
~Carolyn Forché, Burning the Tomato Worms


I create mixed-media work that combines painting, drawing, printmaking and installation. Interaction with architectural structures and spatial relationships inform both my conceptual and installation processes. Many of my pieces are two-dimensional works that extend off the wall; other pieces encompass the entire exhibition space and include both sound elements and shadows.

While I utilize diverse media, methods of presentation and subject matter to realize individual projects, the work is conceptually linked through recognition of the landscape as a receptacle of history and memory, connecting past with present. Through landscape, I address concerns that range from mortality, structural decay, to mapping and border politics.

For many years, my installations took the form of fictional maps of ancient floor plans. Created on Mylar, I capitalized on its transparency to depict layers of strata, using images that floated in and above one another, to construct the landscape in a way that simulates nature. The transparent sheets, separated by the use of spacers, allowed light to pass directly behind and in front of the work.

A series of summer residencies in Costa Rica has expanded my relationship to the natural environment. I had already been incorporating Islamic patterns in maps of the Middle East, when I became aware of Arabesques, the floral and plant motifs found in Islamic art. Layered, combined with gold leaf and shown in stages of growth and decay, these pieces hark back to the theme of vanitas, rendering both the splendor and breakdown of the natural environment. In the installation, Bounty, I address a similar theme, using shadows as a metaphor for ecological distress.

My interest is not in the replication or specificity of time or place. I am concerned with cycles of birth and decay, and how memory, history and the landscape are interwoven in a world with an increasingly fragile infrastructure.