Experimental and Foundation Studies


Deborah Coolidge

Deborah Coolidge’s large-scale works on paper evolve from close interactions with trees. She creates graphite rubbings directly from the tree bark, then returns to the studio and begins a lengthy process of “deciphering, studying, enhancing and erasing,” revealing the variety of characteristics across species and ages. “Each drawing pays homage to the character of the tree,” she says. “Some seem stoic, others bold and extraverted. The trees record their experience in the bark, and I examine, interpret.”

Coolidge received her MFA in Ceramics from RISD and her BFA in Ceramics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In addition to teaching in RISD’s Foundation Studies division since 1981, she has led various workshops and held residencies at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, MA and the Art and Design Academy, Bratislava, Slovakia. She has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows throughout New England, including the New Bedford Art Museum, Providence’s 5 Traverse Gallery and, most recently, the Newport Art Museum.