Debora Faccion Grodzki is a painter whose works embody the vitality of motherhood. She utilizes abstraction to embrace her young children’s bold and unforgiving decisiveness as they explore the world. Coming from South America, Debora’s paintings carry forward the experimental attitude of contemporary Latin American artists, such as Lygia Clark and Celeida Tostes. Bearing the added labor of caring for children as an immigrant, painting becomes an everyday tool in the home, a form of play, and, hopefully, a catalyst for new encounters.
Debora has a Ph.D. in Art History from the State University of New York in Binghamton (2022) and a MA in Social Communication from the Federal University of Juiz de Fora in Brazil (2012). With more than ten years of experience teaching at the university level, she has taught semiotics, art history, and art theory courses for artists. In addition, she has presented her research internationally and published her texts in English and Portuguese, including publications such as Hyperallergic, ArtPulse, and Media-N. Debora has received many distinctions for her research on art, including a scholar award from the Arts in Society Network in Budapest (2013), a year-long graduate fellowship at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles (2016), and a Material and Visual Worlds Area of Excellence fellowship from SUNY-Binghamton (2018).
Debora lives in Ithaca, NY, USA.
I’m the kind of artist who believes that everyone is an artist. So, I work to find the origins of creativity, starting with how we organize our actions as meaningful steps within a process to realize our ideals.
In my Ph.D. dissertation in art history (State University of New York in Binghamton, concluded in December 2022), I studied the work of Antonio Dias, a Brazilian artist who underwent what the Italian critic Tommaso Trini called “a creative recovery,” transforming the aesthetics of his work after moving to Europe in 1967. Deepening Trini’s characterization, I define “a creative recovery” as a theoretical perspective for the specific conditions an artist establishes to further their art practice. Within these conditions, in addition to the material choices made by the artist, which conventionally situate their work within specific categories such as painting, sculpture, installation, etc., I highlight the formation of an “autotheory” that articulates the immaterial elements of artistic creation. This research initiated my work towards various activities that enable me to express my creativity and help others do the same.
In 2021, I started the podcast Artist Praxis, in which I interview contemporary artists about the details of their creative processes. This podcast is a way to create connections with other artists and experience the relationship between making meaning and making things in the world, following Paulo Freire’s definition of “praxis.” Currently, I’m recording extended interviews that will serve the podcast’s third season and a book project on visual artists who speak multiple languages. Moreover, I provide online mentorship for artists who want to reorganize their creative work with the help of theoretical thinking. I built this mentorship program from my experience teaching for four years a seminar course in the Art and Design department at Binghamton University, which I titled “From Critical Theory to Creativity.” In all these activities, I work to find ways to identify, initiate, sustain, or finalize activities that free us from the constraints of cultural paradigms that hinder our creativity, particularly those that support colonialism and misogyny.
I started to consciously build my life around my art practice in 2016, the same year I began to live with my husband, so my work as an artist coincides with the formation of my family. I am a queer woman from Latin America, who overcame PTSD, went through two fantastic homebirths, and I am raising my children according to the inherent mastery of their own bodies. I strive to build an art practice that contributes to expanding society’s understanding of the sovereignty of the human body as a center of fundamental knowledge toward constructing more inclusive and liberating cultures.
Debora Faccion Grodzki, February 2023.