Many of Deborah Y. Strauss’s illustrations involve women who represent different time periods in history. Deborah’s desire to depict images of women in various times and settings portray the great changes in history that human beings have all been a part of, particularly women.
Women were once restricted to working at home and maintaining order in the household, unable to have contact with the outside world. Deborah enjoys producing beautiful illustrations that show the struggles women had to endure throughout history, and wants her art to act as a form of education for its viewers.
The following are various examples of women drawn in charcoal and pastel:
As you can see from the image above, the woman is distraught. Her face does not exude the kind of beauty that is standard for our era. She is also depicted raking hay by hand (an extremely difficult labor intensive and timely process) that was required in the 1800s in order to feed livestock (mostly horses) that the people of this time were completely dependent upon. If the horses weren’t healthy, there was no way for people to travel or plow their fields for crops that were required to sustain their lives.
The image of the modern day woman with a new born baby featured above represents the connection between a mother and her child. You will notice there is no hair on either subject, which was done on purpose so that hair would not distract from the true meaning of the image. The closeness of the mother and child, almost intertwined, shows that the two are forever deeply connected and depicts a “oneness” between the two. Deborah Y. Strauss incorporated a drape around the woman to signify the natural aspect of life and how a child enters the world, further accentuating the bond between a mother and her child.
In addition, the large amount of space around the woman and her child represents the emotional and physical experiences that a woman goes through during child birth. This piece of art signifies the absolute beauty of the bond between mother and child, paying respect to each woman who has gone through childbirth.
In her art, Deborah aims to honor women for the hardships they face by placing less emphasis on the physical beauty of women and more so on their experience with the world we live in.