Deborah Westmancoat is a contemporary painter based in Somerset, UK. She has spent the last 6 years engaged in a long term project researching the four stages of classical alchemy in relation to the movement of water found within the natural and built environment, considering how each stage might help us to understand landscape and our place within it. Works begin in the quiet places where these stages become apparent and are made as a direct result of first hand experience within the environment.
Informed by local flooding, past works have focused on a visual understanding of the first stage of alchemy experienced through the element of water. As part of the making process, panels were repeatedly immersed in black writing ink and local flood waters. Each time the previous story was washed away and a new story ‘written’ upon the surface. These durational works were an attempt to understand how the movement of water can alter the ‘known’ over time and how our psyche is affected by the temporary loss of the familiar in our environment.
Recent paintings have included samples of icicles, hoar frost and hailstorms. Organic materials collected from each site, particularly oak galls, often contribute to pigments used in the process. Over the past year Westmancoat has begun to consider how a materials based practice can engage on a deeper level with place through the actions of observing and following the movement of water under / over / across / through particular environments.
She exhibits frequently, throughout the UK and internationally, and was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2014, becoming a Royal West of England Academy Artist Network member in 2015. Her work is held in many private and public collections and has been featured in a range of publications including Internationale Kunst Heute, British Vogue, Fresh Paint International and the Morton Casa de Subastas: Arte Britannico Contemporaneo 2015.