Debra Lott’s upcoming exhibition at the Pyro Gallery is titled “Evolving”, new work reflecting both artistic and social change. The paintings and drawings in this collection record lives, capture moments, reveal character, and tell stories. Lott has taken specific moments and people from her personal life and used them to comment on larger issues. Her subjects include a portrait of a former student, a spokesperson against dating violence, who is also the daughter of a domestic violence victim (Taleah) and the hands of a former nanny who survived the perils of racism only to be underdone by a stroke (Theresa’s Hands).

Lott’s modus operandi is best illustrated by Forever Friends, an image of a black hand clasping a white hand. This image, which appears as both an oil painting and a charcoal drawing, was inspired by a photograph of Lott’s mother and her friend Theresa, who is also the subject of Theresa’s Hands. The two friends reconnected after Lott’s father was placed in the same nursing home as the former nanny. Lott found it comforting that her parents and Theresa would take vastly different paths to end up in the same place where they could meet as equals.

 “My father was the vice president of a tire company in Miami,” Lott explains. “At the time Theresa worked in our neighborhood, she had to leave by dark. She had to ride in the back of the bus on the way home. Ironically, they end up in the same nursing home and become friends. It is one thing to talk about changing times, and another to see it right before your eyes.”

There are numerous close ups of hands and feet in Lott’s new work. She says the lines and scars on her subject’s skin provide clues to their life journeys. The artist has even included two portraits of her own hands and feet in the collection, which is fitting since she is undergoing some change of her own. Lott often creates large-scale work on canvas or paper to allow maximum opportunities for brushstroke, color and detail. But her new painting abandons the more naturalistic aspect of past work for a new emphasis on texture. The artist has put handmade paper under the images and used bolder brushstrokes to make texture a more expressive element in the new work.

 “An artist is always supposed to experiment,” Lott asserts. “I paint and draw. I’m not going to pick up clay or start making sculptures. But I am always looking for ways to do something different within my chosen disciplines. It is all about finding new ways to communicate with the viewer.”

Guest artist and fellow Pyro Member John McCarthy, will also exhibit some of his ceramic sculpture, which include women as its focus."Two Different Women" and other works may provoke a conversation about the various roles women play in our world.   

In keeping with the “Evolving” theme, Lott has invited local non-profits to use her exhibit as a stage for panel discussions and/or forums for education. On Tuesday, August 26 the Family Scholar House, a nonprofit that helps single parents obtain college degrees, will host a panel discussion where program graduates can talk about their experiences. It starts at 6 p.m. The Center for Women and Families and West Louisville Women's Coalition will also host special exhibit events.

 “Evolving” will be at Pyro Gallery, 909 E Market St, from Thursday, August 14 to Saturday, September 27. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday, Noon to 6 p.m. There will be an artist’s reception on Friday, August 15, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The artist will also be available for the First Friday Gallery Hop on Friday, September 5, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.


For more information, contact Pyro Gallery at (502) 587-0106 or visit pyrogallery.com. The artist’s personal website is www.debralott.com.