Debra Dawes

Sydney, Australia

Broadly, my practice explores the connection between art and life through the language of abstraction. The aim is to reinvest existing paradigms with contemporary social and political concerns.

Double Dealing, a series of six large-scale paintings, combines simplicity of form with the complexities of seeing, feeling and thinking. The geometric systems embody the legacy of formalist and conceptual practices, enabling an invigorated perceptual response based on the philosophy of inclusion. The approach in Double Dealing assumes and consumes the social, the political and the subjective forces underpinning our contemporary reality. The series draws on the language of modernist abstraction, seeking to highlight the concepts of contradiction and duplicity integral to the spatial construction of illusion and flatness.

Like Double Dealing, the Cover up series visually explores the concept of deception. Cover up responds to the political landscape of our post 9/11 reality where deception and fear are integral to the everyday. At the center of the Cover up installation is an arctic camouflage net (not pictured) positioned in the space so that the passage of the viewer is determined by the border of the net and the structure of the wall. The viewer is moved around the object and forced to pass under the canopy of the net. The wall and net become the painting and the negative and positive spaces of the net are cast and blurred by the play of light and shadow on the wall behind. The capture between the net and its shadow compels the viewer to become part of the interconnecting realities. One is a device of deception and the other is purely illusory.

Similarly, the Cover up works on paper draw upon the positive and negative structure intrinsic to the net. The fall of light on the surface of the paper is integral to the subtle registration of form cast by shadows. Each cut through the surface layer fans forward to reveal multiple layers beneath. The structure of the net is echoed in the repeated shapes to form a lexicon of randomness and order, concealment and revelation.

Clock wise is a series investigating painting as a system that records lived rhythms, encounters and responses to being in the world. The system embodies the limits and the potential between the self and the medium, between the painter and the painting. Implicit within each painting is a field where duration and immediacy are rendered from the ebb and flow of lived experience. The series consists of twelve large canvases, each of which records the rhythm of my presence and absence in the studio. The canvas is drawn up according to the number of days in the month, so, thirty days are represented by thirty stripes. When present in the studio, the lapse of time is documented by painting in the number of stripes that represent each day since the last recording.

contact & information

more information about the artist

email Debra Dawes
Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney, AU

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