ARTIST STATEMENT

Initially derived from personal pain, my artwork has evolved into an obsession with mark making and working the surface of the paper into a visual meditation. To me, paper is like skin, and by extension, the body itself. Both the processes I employ - I repetitively burn, etch, scrape, score, stamp, puncture, incise, type, apply pressure, write and draw - and materials I incorporate - heat, paper, gut, glass, ink, thread, soot and metal - offer a visual vocabulary that seems to parallel the way in which pain marks a body. My most recent work addresses anguish on a broader scale, incorporating obsessive mark making to translate visually what cannot be conveyed adequately through the abstraction of written language.

- Deborah Gottheil Nehmad, 2016


BACKGROUND

   

Deborah Gottheil Nehmad is a Honolulu-based artist whose works on paper have been seen in museum, non-profit and gallery venues since 1998. She was born and raised on Long Island in New York and graduated from Smith College with her B.A. in 1974. In 1982, she received her JD from Georgetown University. After years as a practicing attorney and working in politics (including the Carter White House), her legal work brought her to Hawaii in 1984. In 1985, an accident precipitated a series of life altering events. By 1998, she had earned her MFA in printmaking from the University of Hawaii – Manoa.

She has participated in numerous solo show and group exhibitions in Hawaii, on the "mainland", and internationally. Her work can be found in many public and private collections including the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, Yale University Art Gallery, the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College, Smith College Museum of Art, Hood Museum at Dartmouth College, the Hammer Museum of UCLA, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Hawaii State Art Museum, and the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu. She has received numerous awards, including purchases from funds provided by the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and was one of six Hawaii artists included in the Sixth Biennial of Hawaii Artists at The Contemporary Museum in 2003. More recently, she was awarded the Hawaii State Foundation for Culture and the Arts Individual Artist Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts.


EDUCATION

1998

MFA in Printmaking

University of Hawaii, Manoa, Honolulu, HI

1982

Juris Doctor

Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.

1974

BA in Government

Smith College, Northampton, MA


REVIEWERS' COMMENTS

Here is where the Honolulu artist steps in with works that are brutally frank, deeply emotional and representing a mix of mediation and penance. No machine made these holes or stitched the tiny memorial markers across the resulting void; she did, painstakingly. Each sheet of paper is like a bullet-riddled animal skin, divided into zones of light and dark. Nehmad groups the burned holes within these areas. "wasted (iii)" (annual averages) groups all of the victim-marks into the dark ring, "wasted (i)" shows an apparent migration between zones (though the direction is ambiguous), while "wasted (ii)" seems to represent violence eroding boundaries themselves...

"Wasted" is not an optimistic installation, but neither is it didactic or polemic. Nehmad is concerned with data and information, but she is also dedicated to exploring the ritual power of art-making to pursue deeper connections and empathy. She denies us a comparative spatial layout or labels to help us understand how we might rank or assess this representation. And so we are left to explore and interpret this visceral map of the body politic on our own. It's worth finding out whether we're up to the challenge.

David A.M. Goldberg, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, February 16, 2016
[read full article]

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Solo Show "Wasted" (2015)
Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
details >
   

In her current work Nehmad uses her method to step back and look more broadly at gun violence in America, trying to create a graphic representation that might affect the viewer more viscerally than graphs or statistics. Using handmade Nepalese paper Nehmad burns holes and makes stitches to represent individuals killed through the use of guns. Nehmad represents deaths by homicide, suicide as well as deaths caused by the police. The deaths of children due to gun violence (through homicide and suicide) are also graphically represented to differentiate them from other types of gun-related killings. . .

The show points to a problem right at the heart of contemporary American society. It's easier to attack and lash out than it is to view the other as a fellow human being worthy of respect and compassion. We teach malice and not compassion or understanding. In fact, it's more profitable when folks attack and lash out so these unnecessary deaths depicted in these pieces will undoubtedly continue for the foreseeable future. In this show guns become symbols of the absolute refusal to believe that it is possible to live like decent and compassionate human beings. The images show the effects of this refusal to even attempt to establish a humane ideology as the basis of our culture.

- Daniel Gauss, Arte Fuse Magazine, 2015

 

If we accept that art is a tool for Deborah Gottheil Nehmad to represent her surroundings — even the interior ones — then I would argue that her work is everything but obsessive. To simplify an analysis, Nehmad's work stands at the crossing between two of the most influential art movements of the last decades: Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. The first comes to mind readily; there is the pleasure of the material, the personal handling of the situation, and the interest in communicating experience. Then there is also the purpose, the arbitrary conception, and the repetitive execution.

As a means to portray her world — the world, life — it comes as no surprise that her work would be named after an affliction, as indeed, it has so much to do with pain. But since pain and death, the succession from one day to the next, and everything else we know, are life itself, one feels that calling Nehmad's work obsessive unmasks an inability to recognize our humanity.

- artist Teo Gonzalez, 2009 Catalogue for Nueva York: El Papel de las Ultimas Vanguardias (New York: Recent Avant-Gardes on Paper).

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Think of cremation, the burning of one’s past, burning the bridges behind us.   [Nehmad’s] work is all about process.

- David Behlke, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, October 29, 2006

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The work of Deborah Gottheil Nehmad offers a richly inflected fusion of perspectives on the eloquent mark, bringing together the personal sign and the marking of time: process and presence, endurance and duration.

- Marcia Morse, Artweek, May 2005

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[Nehmad’s] homage to Eva(x) occupies an undefined area somewhere between a print and a drawing.  In her evocative re-imaging of Eva Hesse’s hauntingly serene circle drawings, Nehmad uses branding (in the traditional sense of the word) to form the inner area of her gridded circles, a technique that could be argued as either a transfer, hence a print, or a direct mark-making device of drawing.  She then defines the circumferences of the circles with graphite.  By scorching the paper, she brings a brutal and personal aspect to the Minimalist purity of Hesse’s compositions. 

- Barry Walker, New Prints 2004/Spring, ICPNY

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... Nehmad, whose “Chronic Enumeration” is one of the show’s peculiar highlights.  Her arcane constellations of numbers are created through “pyrography,” a process of burning images into embossable paper.  That she uses her art to ease and chronicle her chronic back pain adds an extra layer of meaning.

- Josef Woodard, Along Non-linear Lines, Santa Barbara News-Press, December 5 - 11, 2003

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Through the meditative process of repetitive mark-making, she burns the paper with red-hot numerical number punches that become a metaphor for numerical connections to her heritage (concentration-camp tattoos, number squares in the Kabbalah) and diagnostic tools to gauge the intensity of a person’s pain. . . .  Numbers in this context have become her words.  And her words have taken on new meanings in the shapes that have emerged – pulsating with life. 

- Victoria Gail White, Honolulu Advertiser, July 27, 2003

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Ritual, endurance, repetition, obsession—these qualitative aspects are often ascribed to the art of Deborah Gottheil Nehmad...

- Marcia Morse, The Contemporary Museum Biennial of Hawaii Artists Catalogue, 2003

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[Nehmad’s] lyrical works on paper are characterized by numeric figures repeatedly burned, etched, embossed or written in such a way as to form rhythmic patterns and designs. . . .The resulting work is at times as delicate as lace and at other times as forceful as a hammer striking an anvil.

- Carol Khewhok, Honolulu Museum of Art Calendar News, September/October 2000


SELECTED COLLECTIONS

Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

Auchenbach Foundation Collection, Fine Art Museums of San Francisco

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI

Hawaii State Art Museum (Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts), Honolulu, HI

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA

Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

Hammer Museum, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR

Private Collections:  Hong Kong, London, New York (Wynn Kramarsky), Washington, DC, California, Massachusetts, Hawaii


AWARDS

2011 SFCA Recognition Award Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition
  Best Monoprint Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition
  3rd Place – 2D Honolulu JCC
2008 Individual Artist Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts

2007, 2003, 2002, 2001

Hawaii State  Foundation on Culture and the Arts Purchase Awards

Purchases by the SFCA of six awards at six exhibitions

2004

Juror’s Award

Annual Members’ Exhibition, Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center, Maui, HI

2nd place- 2D

Windward Art Guild, Honolulu, HI

2003

Gift Print Artist

Honolulu Printmakers 75th Anniversary Portfolio

2002, 2001, 1999

Roselle Davenport Award for Artistic Excellence

Artists of Hawaii Exhibitions at Honolulu Museum of Art

2003, 2001

Peter Morse Memorial Award (second place)

Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibitions

1997

Jean Charlot Award (1st place)

Honolulu Printmaker’s Annual Exhibition

2000, 1998

2nd place – 2D
Honorable Mention – 2D

Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce “Commitment to Excellence” Annual Exhibitions

1999

Purchases by the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco and The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI with funds provided by the Wallace Alexander GERBODE Foundation

 

1999

Purchase Award

Watamull Fund for the Honolulu Museum of Art

   

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2016 wasted Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI
2015 wasted Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
2006 Iterations Koa Gallery, Kapiolani Community College, Honoulu, HI
2006 Drawn Glass Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center, Makawao, HI

2005

Variations on a Meditation

Academy Art Center, Honolulu Academy of Arts

2000

Untitled

Georgetown University Law Center

2000

Marking Time

Academy Art Center, Honolulu Academy of Arts

1998

10,000

University of Hawaii Commons Gallery, Honolulu, HI

 

 

 

GROUP EXHIBITIONS – INVITATIONAL

2016 Four Koa Gallery, Honolulu, HI
  The Laminated Print: Origins + Process of Chine Collé John Young Museum, Honolulu, HI
  Art/Sci 2016: Where Art and Science Meet Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
2014 Joomchi and Beyond Jeju, Korea
  Art=Text=Art: Works by Contemporary Artists Anderson Gallery at University at Buffalo, New York
  Works on Paper Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA
2013 A Common Sense Gallery at Ward Center, Honolulu, HI
  Art=Text=Art Hafnarborg, Iceland 2013
  Finding X Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House, Honolulu, HI
2012 Art=Text=Art: Works by Contemporary Artists

Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, University, New Brunswick, NJ

  International Joomchi and Beyond

Atrium Gallery, Providence, RI and Warwic Museum of Art, Warwick, RI

  Hawaii Art Now Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI
2011 Accession: Recent Acquisitions from the Art in Public Places Collection Hawaii State Art Museum, Honolulu, HI
  Art=Text=Art: Works by Contemporary Artists: an exhibition of selections from the Sally & Wynn Kramarsky Collection University of Richmond, Richmond, VA
  In the News

The Contemporary Museum at First Hawaiian Center, Honolulu, HI

  Drawn, Taped, Burned: Abstraction on Paper Katonah Art Museum, NY
2010-11 Group Exhibition of Awardees of SFCA Visual Arts Fellowships

Hawaii State Art Museum

2009 Nueva York: El Papel de las Ultimas Vanguardias
(New York: Recent Avant-Gardes on Paper)
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Esteban Vicente, Segovia, Spain
2008 Benchmark The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI
2007 uncommon objects Hawaii State Art Museum, Honolulu, HI
2006 Hey-li Printmedia Festival-from paper to digital Sung Shin Women’s University. Seoul, Korea
  West Toward the East: Contemporary Art from the Pacific Rim City of Brea Art Gallery, Brea, CA
  Artists of Hawaii Revisited: Selected Acquisitions 1997-2005 Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI
  Ten Year Anniversary Exhibition The Contemporary Museum at First Hawaiian Center, Honolulu, HI
2005 The Critique Group - 10 years later Balcony Gallery, Kailua, HI

 

Retrospective/Prospective

Anne Reed Gallery, Ketchum, ID

2004

art on paper

Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC

fine lines: from the collection of Wynn Kramarsky

Contemporary Arts Forum of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA

2003

VI Biennial of Hawaii Artists

The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI

 

In the making: Contemporary Drawings from a Private Collection

Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts,
Amherst, MA

 

ConTempoRARITIES

Neiman Marcus, Honolulu, HI

2002-03 Inaugural Exhibition Hawaii State Art Museum, Honolulu, HI

2002

Mixed-media Miniatures

Koa Gallery, Honolulu, HI

 

Showcase

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI

Common Sense

Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI

2001

Mixed-media Miniatures

Koa Gallery, Honolulu, HI

 

Quality Hearts III

The Contemporary Museum Café, Honolulu, HI

 

Time after Time

Gallery at Ward Center, Honolulu, HI

Birth Marks

Queen Emma Gallery, Honolulu, HI

2000

Stretching the Point

University of Hawaii Art Gallery, Manoa, HI

7th Annual Shoebox Sculpture Exhibition

University of Hawaii Art Gallery, Manoa HI

Works on Paper

The Contemporary Museum at First Hawaiian Center, Honolulu, HI

Mixed-media Miniatures

Koa Gallery, Honolulu, HI

1999

Connective

Queen Emma Gallery, Honolulu, HI

1998

Image and the Word

Gallery Iolani, Kaneohe, HI

 

GROUP EXHIBITIONS – JURIED

2016 Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition Honolulu Museum of Art School
Juror:  Paul Mullowney
2014 Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition Honolulu Museum of Art School
Juror:  Liz Chalfin
2013 Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition

Honolulu Museum of Art School
Juror:  Hiroke Mironoue

2012 Commitment to Excellence Exhibition

Honolulu Museum of Art School

  Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition Honolulu Museum of Art School
Juror: Prawat Laucharoen
2011 Commitment to Excellence Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
  Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror: Koichi Yamamoto
2010 Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror: Helen Frederick
2009 Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror: Michael Krueger
2008 Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror: Laura Berman
2007 Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror: Tanja Softic
2006 Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror: Paul Rangell
2005 Berkeley Art Center's 22th Annual Juried National
Exhibition
Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, CA
Jurors: Karin Breuer and Donald Farnsworth
  Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror: Kathan Brown

2004

Juried Member’s Exhibition

Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center, Makawao, HI
Juror: Georgianna La Goria

Commitment to Excellence

Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI

 

Artists of Hawaii 2004

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI
Juror: Janet Koplos

New Prints: Spring 2004

ICPNY, New York, NY
Juror: Barry Walker

Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition

Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror: Toon Wegner

Windward Art Guild

Honolulu, HI

 2003

Artists of Hawaii 2003

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI
Juror: George Ellis

Berkeley Art Center’s 20th Annual Juried National Exhibition

Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, CA
Juror: Marian Parmenter

Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition

Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror: Hugh Merrill

Commitment to Excellence

Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI

2002

Artists of Hawaii 2002

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI
Juror: Ned Rifkin

Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition

Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror: Brendan Hansbro

Commitment to Excellence

AMFAC Plaza Gallery, Honolulu, HI

2001

Artists of Hawaii 2001

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI
Juror: Arnold L. Lehman

Int’l Juried Show

NJ Center for Visual Arts, Summit, NJ
Juror: Donald Kuspit

Phoenix Gallery National Juried Competition

Phoenix Gallery, New York, NY
Juror: F. Daftari

 

Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition

Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror:  Eileen Foti

Commitment to Excellence

AMFAC Plaza Gallery, Honolulu, HI

Recycle Show

Honolulu Hale, Honolulu, HI

2000

Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition

Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror:  Judith Solodkin

Commitment to Excellence

AMFAC Plaza Gallery, Honolulu, HI

 

Let’s Hang All the Lawyers

Foundry Gallery, Washington, DC

1999

Artists of Hawaii 1999

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI
Juror:  Lucinda Barnes

 

Commitment to Excellence

AMFAC Plaza Gallery, Honolulu, HI

Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition

Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror:   Jeff Sipple

1998

Artists of Hawaii 1998

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI
Juror:  Helen Drutt English

Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition

Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror:  Melvyn Pettersen

Commitment to Excellence

AMFAC Plaza Gallery, Honolulu, HI

Pacific States Biennial National Print Exhibition

University of Hawaii-Hilo, Hilo, HI
Juror:  Charles Cohan

1997

Artists of Hawaii 1997

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI
Juror:  Adolfo V. Nodal

Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition

Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror:  Pam Longibardi

1996

Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition

Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI
Juror:  Michi Itami

1995

Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition

Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI 

1994

Honolulu Printmakers Annual Exhibition

Honolulu Museum of Art School, Honolulu, HI

1992

Artists of Hawaii

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI

   

REPRESENTATION

The Kim Foster Gallery, New York NY - www.kimfostergallery.com

Cedar Street Galleries, Honolulu, HI - www.CedarStreetGalleries.com

Fine Art Associates, Honolulu, HI - www.FineArtAssociates.com

Cindy Lisica Gallery, Houston TX - www.CindyLisicaGallery.com