Dorothea Osborn is an abstract, conceptual artist and educator. Abstraction and figuration compete for dominance in her work. A painting’s image, which often references the human body, and a paintings’s surface, which is composed of multiple layers, reveal Osborn’s interest in the painting process itself.
Osborn received her B.A. from State University College at Buffalo in 1983. In 1994, she received her M.F.A. in Painting from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She became a Painting Professor on both the graduate and undergraduate levels at SUNY New Paltz in 2008 and 2009. She has been an Instructor in mixed-media, encaustics, and print making in New York, New Mexico, Massachusetts, and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
While Osborn’s art was originally in the style of abstract expressionism, over time it veered into total abstraction. Her application and reworking of materials is crucial to her paintings, leading to visible transparency and multiple layering. These layers may come from reflective light or from the three dimensional elements in her work.
Her more recent mixed-media works went from two dimensional abstraction into that of the three dimensional so that her paintings merged into sculptures. She often uses unconventional materials and found objects in these mixed-media, sculptural works.
“My long-standing interest in temporality has been reshaped in recent years with the urgency of climate change and my reflections on the Anthropocene. Incorporating found objects, three dimensional qualities, synergic relationships, I think about the life span of our debris in contrast to our own.”
Osborn has been awarded Artist Residencies at Joshua Tree National Park, New York’s Avery Park, Vermont Studio Center, France’s Chateau D’Orquevaux, and Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She has received various awards such as New York State Foundation for the Arts and New Mexico’s Kasini House, among others.