Things to Do in Seattle: Sculptor Debra Baxter's New Show 'All I Ever Wanted'

Seattle sculptor Debra Baxter conveys the pull of gravity with a light touch
Brangien Davis  |   April 2014   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
debra baxter art seattle magazine

Debra Baxter is renowned for creating work that contrasts spiky crystals against smooth stone, stunning beauty against repulsive physical reality. Her new show, All I Ever Wanted, features alabaster, crystal and mineral sculptures, as well as cast metal pieces, including a twisted human neck made of aluminum and a female pelvis in bronze. But the centerpiece is “Soft Landing (or crashing and burning),” five life-size alabaster pillows meticulously carved and arranged as a 3-D replica of Albrecht Dürer’s 1493 drawing “Six Studies of Pillows.” Baxter came upon the drawing while researching Dürer for an art history class she was teaching, and it brought to mind a pillow she had carved in 2009, and previous sculptural works, such as her textile clouds. “The pillows reach back to these earlier metaphorical explorations of lightness and weight,” she explains. “The pillows in Dürer’s drawing seem to wrestle with their own physicality. Contorting and stretching in impossible ways, they anthropomorphize a human struggle.” While Dürer’s drawing has six pillows, Baxter created five—but not because she grew tired of the punishing process. “So much of my work is about what is missing,” she says. “I wanted there to be an absence.” 3/27–4/22. Times vary. Free. Platform Gallery, 114 Third Ave. S; 206.323.2808; platformgallery.com