I felt like I was peering into Debra Scacco’s personal journals as I walked around her exhibit BIRDS OF PASSAGE at Marine Contemporary. Her large and small works on paper feature her solid penmanship, which she glides across the surface into geographical formations like States and Countries. “I Cannot Reach You” and “Hold Me” are just a couple of the repeated lines running throughout their corresponding paintings and although this may sound strange, there is almost a psychic connection between the viewer and the work that gives off the feeling of the syntax without actually having to read it. So, even if Debra wrote them in Itallian and I don’t speak or read Itallian, I would still be able to grasp the emotion trying to reach out for me. These are elegant and beautiful works that can take months and months to complete, especially the installation in the center of the room where she had to glue over 1000 golden pins together to form what looks like a map of all the pieces in the show combined onto one plane.
Debra and I talked about her work inside the gallery, where she told me about how the ink stains on two of the largest pieces come from a process involving calculated randomness. Or, the act of dropping the ink with a dropper out of the bottle, grasping the paper by the sides, and gently allowing the staining agent to find its home on the page. Which may be part of the reason the works seem so natural. She also told me about how certain paper requires certain pens and how she uses a giant compass, normally reserved for architects, to make sure her textual formations fit along the perfect arch and which is why there is sometimes a tiny hole in the very center of the work. To me, Debra Scacco’s hit the three key elements of greatness – I’m instantly drawn to it, it has a depth beyond it’s surface, and even a few weeks after seeing it, it still resonates positively within my own little eco system.