Debra Pearlman: A Kind of Language


Debra Pearlman: A Kind of Language
Curated by ODETTA and Ellen Hackl Fagan

December 7, 2020 – February 19, 2021

Project: ARTspace is pleased to present, in collaboration with ODETTA and Ellen Hackl Fagan, a solo exhibition of previously unseen photographs by Debra Pearlman, which will be on view at the gallery from December 7, 2020 to February 19, 2021.

The images of children, often dressed in iconic colors, or costumes, and postures, recall immediately well-known subjects in art history, all by chance. The humor that erupts due to Pearlman’s nuanced observations, offers the cautionary reminder that a controlling hand, whether wanted or not, is but a short distance away.

Photography has always occupied a central place in Debra Pearlman’s work, as direct street photography and as source material for paintings and photo-based objects. The subjects are typically children caught unawares in action, revealing an array of ambiguous emotions caught in moments of unaffected physical language.

How we see, what we see, how we read and uncover meaning and context, recognize and make choices, the passion to share vision and experience and view our most vulnerable people—our children—is what drives the artist’s working life.

Debra Pearlman is based in Brooklyn, NY. She received an M.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a B.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with ODETTA, having premiered her print “Carousel” at ODETTA’s Harlem location’s inaugural exhibition, Turner’s Patent Yellow. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally including SLAG Gallery, Sue Scott, Gallery, Exit Art, The international Print Center, The Biennial in Lodz, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and The Chicago Renaissance Society.

Her work is included in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art; The Brooklyn Museum; The Walker Art Center; New York Public Library; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Muzeum Sztuki; and Smith College Museum, among others. She is the recipient of The Meredith S. Moody Residency at Yaddo, The Peter S. Reed Foundation, a Special Editions and an Individual Artist Grant from the Lower East Side Printshop, and the Foundation for Contemporary Art. Reviews include The New York Times, Time Out “Critic’s Choice”, Art in America, and The Chicago Sun-Times “Critic’s Choice”.

Click here for a PDF of the Exhibition Checklist

Click here for a PDF of the Press Release

Exhibition Dates

Dec 07 - Feb 19

Contributing Artists