Debra M. Smith’s markedly formalist work is created through an intuitive approach. Her work involves the overlapping of vintage silk fabric, primarily deconstructed Japanese kimonos, stitched together to form bold geometric abstractions. She incorporates opaque and transparent fabrics, which create an interplay of masked and obscured areas that add a dimensionality to the work. While seemingly reminiscent of maps and diagrams, these works are not simulations of the external world, but rather result from internal ideas—aesthetic explorations of form, color, and rhythm. Additionally, the historic nature of the fabric incorporates another layer of meaning for Smith—an intangible narrative that disrupts the otherwise formal quality of the work thus bridging an external, almost haunting connection to the past.
Smith was raised in Hannibal, Missouri. She graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute with a BFA degree in fiber, and she received an Associate in Applied Science degree from The Fashion Institute of Technology. Smith has shown in galleries across the United States and in Europe.
— Roswell Museum & Art Center