Return to Form

Check out these sculptures by Deborra Stewart-Pettengill.

Photograph by Alyssa Robb

When Deborra Stewart-Pettengill begins sculpting, she lets her art lead the way. “I start with a feeling I want to capture and a type of form,” she says. “As I start working, I let the form carry me.” The New Hampshire–based artist, who also dabbles in printmaking, drawing, and painting, seeks inspiration in shapes and patterns found in nature. To mimic these organic forms, she paints translucent sheets of mesh wire before bending and stitching them together. For Heat Wave (left), created during a particularly steamy stretch last summer, Stewart-Pettengill says she “intentionally used really hot colors on top of black to capture that swirling hot feeling,” designing the piece to be suspended from the ceiling. Undulate (right), meanwhile, anchors to the wall and features more-complex layering accomplished by “rolling the forms into each other.” Sculpting allows for endless exploration, Stewart-Pettengill says, with each piece inspiring the next: “I find that the more I work on an idea, the more ideas I get.” —Olivia Gehrke

From Left: Heat Wave, aluminum wire mesh and enamel paint, $2,000; Undulate, aluminum wire mesh and enamel paint, $3,000;