Adrian Deckbar is a painter who uses photography as the basis for her work, which explores the boundaries of photorealism. Her transformation of photographic source material into acrylic and oil paintings take on a heightened sense of reality. The undulation of shapes, with light raking across the forms, pulsate with life. Vivid colors and jewel tones are contrasted with dark forms throughout the pieces, creating dynamic textures. The paintings become visually dramatic and mysterious.
Learning to play the violin at an age 9, Deckbar became attuned to the nuance and delicacy of sounds. Performing the Bach Concerto for Two Violins at age 14, she was exhilarated by the sensitivity of the instrument. Around the same time, she began her lifelong interest in observational drawing, when she also discovered Michelangelo. The larger than life scale of his work, and its emotional content, impressed her.
Just a few years later, when studying contemporary painting, Deckbar discovered that an art movement was born which pivoted in her direction. She had begun projecting images to create life sized figure paintings using her friends for models. Later that same year, Chuck Close, Robert Bechtel and other photorealists were featured in Artforum, and photorealism was declared an art movement. After earning her BA in Painting, Deckbar traveled West to learn this painting technique. Deckbar moved to San Francisco to study with Robert Bechtel, earning her MA in Painting. For her thesis, she produced a series of paintings titled ‘B Movie,’ which featured life size figures, painted in a super realist narrative, as film noir-like images. Here, she departed from the photorealists, concentrating on the drama in the scene staged for the final painting. For the next three decades, Deckbar continued to push the cinematic quality of her figurative work in this direction.
After 30 years, Deckbar decided to leave the studio with her camera. She approached the primordial world, seeking drama created by the play of light on natural forms. She drew inspiration and images from the bayous and lakes around New Orleans, as well as the hills of the Ozarks, creating large bodies of work in this genre. She hunted for, rather than staged her images. The study of these forms affected her painting in its application, as direct paint rather than blended illusion was the influence of working from nature. Deckbar holds an MFA in Painting from Tulane University, an MA in Painting from San Francisco State University, and a BA in Painting from University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She has served on the faculty of Tulane University, The New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts, The Bascom Art Center, and Vermont College of Norwich University. She maintains studios in New Orleans and Leslie, AR. Deckbar has exhibited her work throughout the United States, and is represented by Octavia Art Gallery in New Orleans.
Her work is included in many public and private, and corporate collections in the US and abroad including the Ogden Museum of Southern Art; the Alexandria Museum of Art; the Louisiana Arts and Sciences Museum; the Hilliard Art Museum; Brenau University; Ochsner Foundation Hospital; Loyola University School of Dentistry; Tulane Medical School; The Eliza Jane Hotel; New Orleans, One River Place, New Orleans; Radisson Suite Hotel; Lykes Steamship Co.; and Chevron Corporation. Adrian Deckbar has received grants from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, The Adolph Gottlieb Foundation, The Pollack-Krasner Foundation, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation.
Deckbar has had numerous reviews and publications of her work, including
“Art in the American South: Works from the Ogden Collection” by Randolph Delehanty.
“Deckbar regarded her subjects, figure and landscape alike, with the stark opticality of a new American realism, forthright in its presentation but strenuously devoid of affect…. Finding in the rendition of space the magic of the ineffable. “Her world works on her soul - and ours - through her eyes, always promising another small, delicious revelation that at once reifies the endurance of nature.” Peter Frank
“Perhaps the best way to describe Adrian Deckbar’s new work is to recognize it as analogous to beholding something for the very first time. In Deckbar’s paintings, this is manifested through the overall presence of a dreamlike opulence, rendered with crystal clear clarity and a reverence for being itself. Deckbar is a dedicated seeker of knowledge, beauty and truth who uses a camera to observe and a paintbrush to record her findings.” David S. Rubin
“A cinematic complexity that carries contemplation into the realm of myth” D. Eric Bookhardt