Debra Giller

Lisa Osborn

December 7 - January 5, 2002

Reception: Friday, Dec. 7, 6- 9pm / Artist Talk: Sat. Dec. 8 @ Noon

Lisa Osborn and Debra Giller Boston Globe review by Cate McQuaid


Lisa Osborn and Debra Giller create large, totemic, ceramic sculptures that defy the limitations of size and complexity usually associated with fired clay works. Both move beyond function, easy categorization and "table top" scale to produce expressive, dynamic forms. While Giller and Osborn simultaneously demonstrate their technical and conceptual insight in vertical compositions, the similarity between these two prolific artists stops there.

Debra Giller shifts from technological and architectural forms to organic and biomorphic in writhing towers of intricate detail and rich color. Plant and fruit forms sprout from five foot tiers of alien (or are they microscopic?) structures that harbor hundreds of lobes, points and appendages of every sort. The fantastic and bazaar are composed in a convincing radial symmetry that conjures up images of pollen, plankton or coral polyps. Other towers are composed of geometric components to generate associations with futuristic skyscrapers or colonies of living buildings that demonstrate her mastery of both hand coiling and complex glazing techniques. The pulsating, vibrating energy of the repeated shapes and colors bring a vitality to these wild creations that is irrepressible.


In contrast, Lisa Osborn uses her own form and experiences to get underneath the surface of things. Her quietly expressive over-life-size human figures are portraits of emotion. Elongated limbs and realistic facial features allow her work to theatrically narrate the scenes they inhabit. Osborn poses herself as a central, classical Madonna in many works relating to motherhood. Her face is sculpted and slightly smaller than the life-casts used in earlier work. Many of these tall figures (some over six feet) stand on hemispheric bases and hold smaller "ball baby" infants. While Osborn presents figures isolated from their environment to focus on the psychological intensity of the work, the interaction of the figures creates a world of their own. Archaic drapery and historical mythological characters connect our individual struggles with archetypes. Elation and maternal pride are offset by longing and loss in a series of work that quietly but powerfully documents our most personal emotions.

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