Pursuing her interest in fashion and textiles, Debra Smith received her
Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute with a major in
Fiber in 1993 and an Associate Degree in Applied Science from the Fashion
Institute of Technology in 2002.
The gallery held its first solo exhibition of Smith's work entitled Looking to the Left in 2008. The show consisted of nine collages made from antique silk kimono linings and other vintage silks. In an interview, Smith described her inspiration for this project, stating that many of life's important decisions come out of the seemingly simple choice of whether to "turn right" or "turn left." In response to this dilemma, Smith creates "maps with no destinations" in her collages, emphasizing the stressful act of making decisions by layering her works with various fabrics, indicating the potential consequences of various decisions with each layer and color. The markings range from acidic reds (specific to Japanese textiles and specifically the lining of men's kimonos) to pale shades of white with subtly varying hues. She likens the artistic results to drawing with cloth, which results in a subtle poetry not unlike unexpected variations that occur when attempting to translate one language to another.
After living in Brooklyn, NY, for over a decade, Smith returned to her native Midwestern roots in 2004. She lives in Kansas City, where she continues to create silk collages.
Textile Collages 2008 [view images]