Most of history has shown us that the language of sculpture is brutish and physical at its roots, yet Debra Steidel translates it into luxurious serenity that is never misunderstood. Her work ushers a renaissance of the all-too-brief Art Nouveau period (1890–1910), a glimpse of the past when art was defined by organic forms, flowing curvature, and a philosophy of artistic liberty in conjunction with the natural environment.
While Steidel converses in the floral poetry reminiscent of the French visionary Émile Gallé (1846-1904), found in the composition of her foliage carvings and ornamental lids; Debra’s work also clearly shares the versatile rhetoric synonymous with American designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933), well known for his dedication to aestheticism, opalescence, and elegance.
It was Tiffany who trademarked the word ‘Favrile,’ an old French term for ‘handmade’ in 1894, an ethos at the forefront of Debra Steidel’s artwork.
The beauty and purpose of Steidel’s work treads the border between the archaic and the contemporary, the outspoken and the voiceless, yet her pioneering artistic spirit knows no bounds. Unequivocally, Debra Steidel’s mixed media masterpieces empower symbolic lineage to the natural world and historic ingenuity. And thus, the language of sculpture has never been so melodic
As the conviction of Debra Steidel’s sculptures speak through the harmonious bond between the form of each vessel and intricacy of each sculptural lid, the vitality of the lidded sculpture has never been so alluringly present. The defining influence of Art Nouveau undoubtedly lingers in the expression of each Steidel masterpiece, yet perhaps the most fascinating parallel between Debra’s mixed media sculpture and the brilliance of the Nouveau legendaries is the uncanny resemblance to René Lalique’s (1860 -1945) sinuous creativity and artistic genius.