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Artist Statement

My abstract paintings often are inspired by the complexities of relationships, nature, and current events. I use geometric shapes to metaphorically create boundaries around issues. Lines can represent varied components of the issues and ways to traverse or inhabit those boundaries. Boundaries and lines vary from precise to gestural, pristine to jagged, thin to wide, and straight to misshapen, each intended to collaborate in a composition with colors and other marks to express a distinct feeling or message. At times, colors and their values emanate from the subject of the composition. Textures, layers, and excavation also are integral to my work, expressing visually my multi-dimensional, nuanced, and evolving approach to experiencing and reconciling challenges, conflicts, and change.


Whether or not my inspiration or intended message is apparent, it is viewers who decide how any work of art impacts them. An abstract painting can be experienced without preconceived opinions about what it should be. If the art touches viewers’ hearts, moves them to smile, brings them a feeling of peacefulness, helps them see the beauty in the world, conveys a meaningful message or otherwise transports or affects them in a significant way, then they will have experienced it fully in their own unique way.

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

Henry David Thoreau

Artist Biography

Debra Perkins is an abstract expressionist artist based in Washington, DC.  She works primarily in acrylic, mixed media, and cold wax medium and oil. She uses layering and excavation as well as strong color combinations to create engaging paintings that draw viewers in. Her work embraces diverse styles to reflect her inspiration from and response to the complexities of relationships, nature, and current events. Just as those inspirations cannot be described by using only the same words, her visual language requires different types of marks, lines, forms, colors, values, and textures. Her work recently has been exhibited at the Mansion at Strathmore, Waverly Street Gallery, Washington College of Law, Glen Echo Park Partnership Galleries, and The Art League, earning an Honorable Mention award. She has studied art and taken classes at the Yellow Barn at Glen Echo Park, The Art League School, Cullowhee Mountain Arts, and Great Falls School of Art, among other places. Debra is active in several organizations for artists.  

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