Debra Chronister, Texas Sculpture Group
From Victoria, Texas
My art is quite diverse. I see this as a benefit, since diverse systems are the healthiest and most resilient, whether that system is ecological - in the form of diverse species, or a community - in the form of people of many races and places. My work revolves around flora and fauna, the natural forces that affect them, and the manner in which they interrelate, aka ecology. Periodically these interests flirt with art history, which is the case for the work in this exhibit, part of the “Love in the Baroque” series. Regardless, my artwork typically explores themes of biology and the cyclical, interrelated nature of existence.
Debra Chronister was born into a very mobile military family, which allowed her to experience the diverse ecosystems and biological communities often reflected in her art. After attaining a BFA at Texas Christian University with a double major in Studio Art and Art Education, she was able to expand her horizons through traveling. She worked as a “jillaroo” in the Australian outback, and as a performer and animal trainer at Renaissance festivals across America. Her interests in art, dance, theater, music, botany and zoology all came to play throughout this time and she completed many ephemeral, land-based sculptures, and site-specific murals.
She returned to Texas to earn her MFA in ceramic sculpture at the University of Texas at Austin. Afterwards she became a Core Fellow with the Museum of Fine Art Houston residency program. Concurrently, she taught ecology and biology at the Houston Zoo.
Teaching about the environment brought her to the Golden Crescent region in 1995. Based out of the National Zoo of Texas, she taught environmental science from Harlingen to Houston. She accepted a position as art professor at Victoria College in 2002 where she teaches studio and lecture classes, as well as yoga.
Her work has been exhibited and collected throughout America, and internationally, including exhibits in Washington DC, Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans, Blue Star Art Space in San Antonio, and Monchskirche Gallery in Salzwedel, Germany. The exhibit in Germany was the culmination of a summer residency program at nearby Atelier Hilmsen in 2018. She recently completed a residency at the Black Swamp School House in Maryland.