August 2022 Edition

Artist Focus

Artist Focus: Deborah Lengel

A look at the artwork of Deborah Lengel

Deborah Lengel received an MFA from the University of South Carolina. Her art has been exhibited throughout the United States, Germany, Italy and France, and has been featured in the book Strokes of Genius 9 and twice in the exhibition ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and ArtFields in Lake City, South Carolina.Self-Portrait with Hope, charcoal and graphite pencil, gouache on tinted charcoal paper, 19 x 20"Lengel has made art for decades. Reluctantly, in 2016, she had to take a prolonged break from her studio when she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. It has been a journey for the artist. “I am in the process of ‘re-entering’ my life after a stem cell transplant in 2017 and then a broken femur, which left me out of commission for an extended period of time,” shares Lengel. “At present, I have been cancer-free for slightly over a year and I am delighted to, once again, be creating art on a regular basis. A bad day in the studio is far better than a good day on the couch.”Michigan’s Finest, charcoal and graphite pencil, gouache on Stonehenge white paper, 50 x 38"While primarily a realistic portrait artist, Lengel also creates images of animals.
“I enjoy creating an open narrative in each work to invite viewers to create their own stories,” she says. “Capturing expressions can be subtle or extreme, but always provides its own rewards and challenges.”

Her work focuses on capturing rare moments. “These moments make time stand still and I feel my own humanity more deeply,” Lengel says. “I strive to capture the essence of each person or animal I create. My work is gestural and loose and I love playing with textures, stenciling and celebrating my love for drawing. I usually work from photos, but I also enjoy rendering from life.”Stargazer, charcoal and graphite pencil, gouache on tinted charcoal paper, 20 x 16"Lengel often draws inspiration from her love of literature, music and her keen observations of life. “Sometimes I notice something unique in an exchange between people and then, perhaps, I remember something that I've read and combine the two ideas for sketching,” she says. “Quite often, I have an inkling, and then I set out to find the props and model. I believe layers of visual information help sustain a dialogue between the viewer and the work. —

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