Deborah Kruger

Environmental fiber artist using recycled materials to address the impact of climate change

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Environmental fiber artist using recycled materials to address the impact of climate change

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    Surface design and patterning have influenced Deborah Kruger’s work since her textile design training at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.  Her wallpaper designs gradually morphed into artwork deeply impacted by fibers, traditional women’s clothing and environmental concerns. She has taught, lectured and exhibited throughout the US, Mexico, Europe and Australia since the 1980s.

    My latest abstract fiber art focuses on the tragic losses of the 21st century, specifically the local and world-wide impacts of human-induced climate change and habitat fragmentation on the extinction of bird species, and death of indigenous languages.

    The feathers in my textile paintings, sculptures and installations are fabricated from recycled plastic that is silk-screened with images from my drawings of endangered birds. My portfolio has over 40 drawings of highly endangered birds.

    My feathers are overprinted with text in endangered indigenous languages such as Shorthand, Yiddish and other indigenous languages, whose last living speakers/users are in steep decline.

    Using plastic feathers embeds a layered narrative that addresses the relentless consumerism driving the loss of both bird and human habitat. I have thus been able to use my prior experience and training in wallpaper and textile design in the service of broad ecological and cultural concerns, while maintaining a fiber sensibility.

    I was deeply impacted by reading Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring' when I was a  young woman. This book sounded the alarm about how use of DDT was impacting bird populations and it transformed me into a young environmentalist. All my artwork is an homage to our endangered birds and a plea for us to pay attention before their numbers decrease even more.

    Working within a group of women has also been important to me since childhood, when I sewed with my mother, aunt and cousins. Later in life, I studied Carpentry for Women and built a weaving studio with a team of women carpenters. When I was the CEO for a billing company, I also found myself working in a pink collar environment. And now, I have a team-based studio of women who collaborate with me in the making of my monumental murals and sculptures.

    In my experience, working with other women is a way to ensure our safety and our voices and I am very pleased to have my artwork presented by the Women in Arts Network.

    Kruger’s recent and upcoming career highlights: 2024 Solo Show, “TURBULENCE: Birds, Beauty, Language & Loss”, at Block Gallery, Raleigh, NC USA curated by Stacy Bloom-Rexode; 2024 Group Show, “LOGOS”, at SCD Studio in Perugia, Italy, curated by Barbara Pavan; 2023 Grand Prize Winner for Keller Prize curated by Nicholas Ducasse, Aspen, CO USA; 2023 Finalist for the Arte Laguna Prize in sculpture and installation with an exhibition in Venice, Italy curated by Laura Gallon; 2023 People’s Choice Award for 'Devotional' at the World of Threads Festival in Toronto, Canada curated by Dawne Rudman; 2023 Solo Show, “Avianto” at Joan Derryberry Art Gallery, Tennessee Tech University, Cookeville, TN USA curated by Charlene Lachiotte; 2022 Solo Show “Avianto”at the Train Station Museum, Chapala, Mexico curated by Gabriela Serrano Suzan;  2022 Solo Show “Plumas” at the PRPG.mx gallery in Mexico City curated by Micheal Swank.

    Kruger has been in several other international Biennials including 2022 X International Biennial of Contemporary Textile Art: 25 Years World Textile Association (WTA) at Miami International Fine Art (MIFA) in Miami, FL USA, the Art Textile Biennial in Australia in 2021 and the Rufino Tamayo Bienal in Mexico City in 2022.

    The Museum of Art and Design in New York City has just acquired two of her large format environmental works and they will be exhibited in 2024.

    Reviews and Interviews of Kruger’s work have appeared in: ArteMorbida (Italy), Al-Tibia 9 (Barcelona), Handwerken (Netherlands), ArtDaily (Mexico), Art Speil (New York), Considering Art (UK), American Craft (USA), SAQA Journal Cover (USA), Textile Artist (UK), and Textile Fibre Forum (Australia).

    Kruger has attended residencies at: The Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, NY (1991); La Porte Peinte Centre, Noyers-sur-Serein, France (2016); Hypatia-in-the-Woods, Shelton, WA (2021) and the Icelandic Textile Center in Blönduós, Iceland (2024).

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