Saturday, August 11, 2012
Debora Alanna - Everything Else Is Winter – by Philip Willey
One thinks of Arte Povera, the art movement that grew up mainly in Italy in the Sixties as a reaction to the elitism of the art world and to more general social injustice. But whereas Arte Povera makes a political statement Deborah Alanna seems more concerned with the emotive power of materials. Her work bursts of the walls. There is something primeval about it…..a primitive force that can’t quite be contained. As she says in a statement: "My sensibilities are founded in the unconcealed world that has dimensions to be discovered. Disparate thoughts can suggest possibilities I love to explore." What, one wonders, is she doing in Victoria with its well-manicured calm?
She left Vancouver because her life there was becoming too intense she says. She needed calm and detachment and like so many she found Victoria a good place to make art. It has been a productive move for her as scores of preliminary drawings attest.
Alanna has held solo exhibitions of sculpture in Kazakhstan, Italy, France, India, and Canada and participated in group exhibitions in USA, Brazil, Spain, France, Italy and Canada. She describes herself as a sculptor primarily but finding herself restricted by lack of space. So for some time she was limited to drawing on paper.
The drawings appear to be studies, ideas and imaginings which may lead to future three dimensional work. Forms in the drawings are fundamentally organic and somehow reminiscent of Anish Kapoor’s refined seedpod-like creations. The larger paintings are sculptural in the way of Schnabel and Kiefer where various materials are compounded to produce a rich texture that is at once spontaneous and the result of studied choices. Contrasts are stark and every piece in the show has visual impact. The titles, one suspects, come after or during the fact.
The overall impression is one of strength. Underlying all the work one senses a kind of magma.the primeval brew at the center of the universe. The emotional energy in this work is quite overpowering really and it requires a conscious effort to resist being engulfed. The paintings become progressively more sculptural as Alanna starts to concentrate on an upcoming show in Iceland to be called, appropriately, ‘Lava and Light’.
Xchanges Gallery - August 2012