Deborah Duffin

A joyous celebration of drawing, process and materiality, I work in two and three dimensions – on paper, in sculptural form – with wire and other malleable materials – drawing in space, drawing with light, camera and computer; sometimes a mixture of media. Early work involved observational drawing – an in-depth study of rhythm and pattern – water, rock formations, spider’s webs, feathers, stones, shells and land and seascapes – observing natures traces - a physical manifestation of energy. Recording the way a line is created, a shape formed, a movement developed; the way colours bleed into each other, the way patterns begin, develop, peak and die away, the way material, colour, pattern merge with one another; character and form are one and the same. Each medium has a life of its own, which comes into play as I work – the wire may spring out of line, the camera responds to my use of movement and gesture, the space I am working in throws up a physical conundrum, leading me willingly astray. I work intuitively, with focussed attention, watching what occurs and going with it – I trust the knowledge of the years of making and the pieces develop their own internal language – a marriage of form and process - the result emerging before my eyes – a new form of life.

I endeavour to remain true to universal truths, while developing my own unique manifestation of them. I retain the characteristics of the natural world, while creating something new; creating work, which utilises observation, but also transcends its subject. Aiming to create something within which the means and the result are one; to deeply engage with the doing of the work – the act of creating, while being alert to the development of the individual physical form, allowing the freedom of the moment to lead me, while keeping some measure of control.

A recent series of drawings have emerged from this exploration. I make certain decisions in order to begin: size of paper, colour and a place to start. The first few marks are determined, then I remain alert and watch as I work – patterns begin to emerge, rhythms develop and create a form with characteristics of its own, I go along with this while keeping an eye on what is emerging, I keep stopping and looking; asking is this enough? Do I continue? At some point, I realise this is it - the drawing has spoken - the end result a surprise and delight. The work emerges through me and my actions, from a vast, unknown place deep within.

The exploration is continued, and extended in three dimensions. A lifelong concern for our environment leads me to seek out discarded materials, which would otherwise go into landfill – wire, found objects, waste packaging - the detritus of our profligate world. I choose malleable materials and using repetitive processes – twisting, tying, cutting, bending - I set up a meditative space in which to observe my process. I begin; I watch; I observe what occurs; I follow it; the piece creates itself, as I work with the medium and its properties; I follow its twists and turns, something emerges before my eyes through a combination of the material and myself. I mimic nature’s processes, while transcending the basic nature of the materials.

Pieces may be shown individually on wall, plinth or floor. These works may also be used in installations. I may string up sculptural pieces, sheets of Perspex or paper - new relationships emerge as I work – a photograph may relate to a drawing on paper, several sculptures may work together to form a new piece. Light, air, physical features or the audience may play a part. My pieces are malleable and may be reformed and transformed as I work in a space. I respond to physical form of a space – a piece may be entwined around a tree branch, hold on to a pillar, be suspended from a beam or stairwell - the end result a new piece replete with ever changing relationships - a metaphor for life and a subtle comment on the way we live today.

I work in a similar way with the camera, choosing arenas involving movement – the sea, the wind, or the fairground. I may click the shutter from the top of a moving bus or as I walk the streets. I use the movements of my hands and arms, or the wonkiness of the zoom to create and replicate the energies of the universe. I let go of control, allowing the medium to guide me through - I don’t know quite what I have captured until I view the images at home. The subject is there, but the way of working has taken me to a brand new place.

Installation of my work affords an extended opportunity to work with the physical properties and characteristics of a space - whether it is placing a single piece in relation to a physical characteristic or creating a large installation, which utilises a variety of media and works with the space and its participants. The users, the audience, may become a part of the piece, as their very presence impacts upon the work and becomes integral to its way of being. The audience, the place, the work are equal participants, interdependent, each an essential part of the whole.

My work is held in public, corporate and private collections in England, Scotland, France, Germany, Denmark, Corsica, St Martin, USA, and has been featured in numerous publications, catalogues and articles. I have instigated, curated and organised events with numerous public and private galleries, and worked as a consultant to organisations and galleries. My books and articles on professional practise and exhibiting are used by students and artists in Britain and abroad.