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 experiential 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.

Artist Statement

I live my work through two aphorisms:

Everything I do is art.

Everyone is an artist too.

An aphorism is a short statement that contains truth and, therefore, is associated with classical philosophical and scientific knowledge. I have adopted these statements as a means to guarantee myself and others the constant permission to expand and transform the world. These phrases are aphorisms because they ground my auto-theory: they form the basis of any knowledge that I recreate and give breath to.

When I’m guided by the acknowledgment that everything I do is art, I structure myself creatively and responsibly, never forgetting that my actions create the world for myself and others. When I see and respond to everyone as artists, I notice their power of consciousness and their intentional agency in the world.

If everything I do is art, then art-making – the recognition of process and project – becomes central. Then, “art” itself can be everything, and in being everything, art is carried into life and back into art in the cyclical pattern that guides every living thing. In this logic, painting, my medium of choice, expands beyond paint and surface. I transform painting through its inherent actions of layering, flowing, brushing, stretching, clamping, and so on. I layer my cultural imprints, brush my body onto things, and stretch my concepts to communicate with others.

If everyone is an artist too, then no matter their professional output or the way they are productive in capitalist terms, I look for their creative life; what I see is their poetic expressions. If everyone is an artist too, what I do isn’t necessary because I am an artist, but because in pursuing professional definitions for the actions in my life, I shapeshift the systems that sustain the professional world itself, impacting, therefore, how we define art, science, and philosophy.

Since everything I do is art and everyone is an artist too, I contribute to building systems in society that express each human being’s inherent freedom to be who they are. Particularly, I find ways to articulate my own freedom professionally while working as a teacher and a painter. In doing so, I dismantle misogyny, colonialism, and racism. Above all else, I remain curious, soft, and active toward people.