Debra Rosenblum: Statement

My sculptures explore the emotions through allegory, mythology, fairy tales and natural forms. Whether in mixed media, clay or bronze, figurative or abstract; the work always alludes to the passage of time. Time is mortality, endurance, vulnerability, and interconnectedness.

The sculptures explore triumphs and losses through mythic figures and gods, as in Icarus and Demeter’s Sorrow. Woe, Lies II, and Mask expose our nightmare fears. Each face symbolizing all faces, each line and eyelash telling a tale, whether the words are screamed or whispered.

Some sculptures show the concave and the convex of a face, each side shaped by, but hidden from, the other. The positive and negative are unified with earth colors and natural textures to illustrate our sunlight and shadow selves. The shells and branches, hornets’ nests and rocks, draped fabric and feathers are all sculpted directly in clay, not from molds. When text is added, as in Recto Verso, it is unmistakably language, but indecipherable: like hearing people speak without knowing precisely what they are saying.

The figurative pieces are sculpted directly in clay and either fired or cast in bronze.

Mixed Media

We are a culture of acquirers and discarders, but instead of tossing away those acquisitions, I turn them into sculptures, altered mostly by juxtaposition. The process of making these sculptures is obsessive; from seeking out, selecting and acquiring each of the antique components, to their manipulation into new forms.

You may relate to individual items (my mother had one of those darning eggs),
be puzzled by others (not everyone knows what a calf weaner looks like), and
you may even recall throwing away things that were in better shape than these.

These assemblages invite examination into what we value.

Note: The title of the feather and shell wall sculptures, “Mandala” is Sanskrit for “circle”. Traditional mandalas are used in Hindui and Buddhist meditative rituals.


The Shadows of Istanbul photographs were taken during my first time in that part of the world, and my first time entering a mosque. The sights of Istanbul are as layered as its history: pagan then Christian then Muslim. There are few “simple” images here.

Intense sunlight is shrouded in mist from the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and the Sea of Marmara. It blazes through doorways and windows into the mosques’ dark interiors, transforming “ancient” from concept to visceral experience. Scarves wrap heads, tarps cover marketplaces; Sultans’ signatures obscure angels’ faces, the veils emphasize that which they conceal.

I’m attracted to the grandeur of urban chaos, the interplay of expected and unexpected, the drama that can be found in the ordinary. This work was all photographed in Tuscany, a perfect locale for exploring the confluence of ancient and modern cultures.