Assemblage artists epitomize the statement, “keep an open mind,” for they are always and forever doing just that: searching for unusual, interesting, and narrative pieces to fit the parts of their textured, and visually complex sculptural puzzles. Los Angeles sculptor, and California native, Debbie Korbel finds inspiration in the shapes and textures of the objects she finds, and as a child, she picked up on patterns that may have gone unnoticed by others, such as shapes in shadows, and patterns in nature. Debbie is also one who loves to laugh, and enjoys spreading that joy and lightheartedness to others by adding humorous themes in her work.
But there is also a pensivity held within the faces of many of Debbie’s subjects. A thoughtfulness that seems to indicate a gratitude of sorts, as if her subjects are reflecting on how thankful they are for the precious objects — crystals, bones, metals, ceramic flowers — substantiating (and adorning) their being.
The talented assemblage artist creates cohesion out of chaos. She is able to build graceful structures garnered (at least in part) from garbage and gifted cast-offs from friends. Debbie’s work delivers, by turning out a visual feast of textures that radiate cathartic energy. Her works exude a colorful music, a tumbling bundle of mini explosions. And it’s funny, the same words could be said when describing laughter, which just happens to be one of the elements fueling Debbie’s work.
Part of the appeal of working in assemblage, Debbie states, is the metaphor inherent in its process: for Debbie Korbel sees individuals as made up of many colorful and textured parts. Only in her pieces, these parts are wholly visible — although not always recognizable.
“I often don’t know the original use for some of the pieces I find,” she says, “and people enjoy identifying them and will come up and tell me, ‘Oh, look, it’s an old air compressor valve’ or ‘Look, it’s a horse femur,’” she laughs. And it’s certainly true that assemblage artists delight in bringing the unexpected into novel contexts. There is such beauty in the creative challenge of finding a new “place” for old or cast-off objects; things that are plucked from their usual homes and resurrected within new ones.
Debbie Korbel’s lively, evocative sculptures have been collected internationally and have been shown in many galleries including Beyond the Lines Gallery and Shoebox Projects. In September 2018, a photo of Debbie’s sculpture, “Passion Flower” (pictured above), was selected to be displayed in Art Elevated, a public art initiative launched by the Garment District Alliance in New York City. Debbie’s work, along with ninety others, was replicated on banners hung on lampposts throughout the Garment District in the heart of midtown Manhattan, creating a fantastic aerial art gallery that will remain on view until October 30, 2018.