Deborah Kruger

Deborah Kruger in the Studio

My latest work focuses on the tragic losses of the 21st century, specifically the extinction of bird species and the death of indigenous languages around the world. The pieces also echo the forced migration of humans, who are similarly victims of war, poverty, famine, climate change, and habitat fragmentation. 

I create feathered textile paintings, sculptures and installations inspired by murmuration, the fantastic shapes formed by the coordinated flight patterns of starling flocks. Many pieces also follow the outlines of countries and states where there are endangered bird species. 

The feathers are cut from fused recycled plastic bags and then silk-screened with images from my drawings of endangered birds. The feathers are overprinted with text in endangered languages such as Tzotzil, Yakme, Shorthand and Yiddish, whose last living speakers/users are in steep decline. 

The plastic feathers embed a layered narrative that addresses the global consumerism driving the loss of both bird and human habitat. I have thus been able to use my prior experience in wallpaper and textile design in the service of broad ecological and cultural concerns. 

My team-based studio employs women from the local community for silk screening, production and assembly, image development, grants writing, filmmaking, social media, and web design. My hope is that our collaboration fosters professional development in creative arts, ecological awareness and personal empowerment.


Wallpaper design and patterning have influenced Kruger’s work since her training in textile design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.  She has taught, lectured and exhibited her artwork in museums, galleries and universities throughout Mexico and the US since the 1980s. 

Recent career highlights include a 2018 solo exhibition titled Turbulence: Birds, Beauty, Language & Loss at the Cultural Center in Chapala, Mexico.  This exhibition will be expanded to include sculpture and installation at the Museum at PALCCO in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2022.

Kruger’s work will be included in these upcoming shows: She will represent Mexico at the Art Fibre Biennale in Australia in 2021, she was chosen for the prestigious Tamayo Bienal that will start in Oaxaca in 2020, travel throughout Mexico and end at the Tamayo Museum in Mexico City, and she will have a solo show at Visions Art Museum in San Diego, CA in 2023.

Her prize-winning work was featured at the Bernard Heller Museum, NYC, the Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, NC, the Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta, GA, the Diego Rivera Museum, Mexico City, and the Saco Art Museum, Saco, ME.

She has attended residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, NY, La Porte Peinte Centre, Noyers-sur-Serein, FRANCE and an upcoming residency at Hypatia-in-the-Woods, Shelton, WA.

Kruger maintains studios in the vibrant art community of Durham, NC and in the lakeside village of Chapala, Mexico.

Her art practice balances making objects of beauty that convey layered meaning about habitat fragmentation, bird migration, species extinction and loss of indigenous languages.

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