Biography

Deborah Westmancoat is a British contemporary painter based in Somerset, UK. She has a long term interest in alchemy and the philosophical sciences and how they help us to understand landscape and our place within it, particularly how the traditionally held metaphysical stages of alchemy: nigredo (blackness), albedo (whiteness), citrinitas (yellowing) and rubredo (redness) might appear within the natural environment.  Paintings begin in the quiet places where these stages become apparent and are made as a direct result of first hand experience within the landscape. Samples of site and weather specific waters – flood, rain, hailstones, dew, frost and snow melt – are collected and combined with ink and locally found elements to record the peculiarities, mysteries and attitudes of water held within the British landscape, particularly around the South West of England.

Informed by local flooding, recent works focused on a visual understanding of nigredo, the dark, formless first state of alchemy, as experienced through the element of water. Paintings became experiments in understanding the nature of immersion, how to lose oneself in the work and absent oneself from the outcome. 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 the nature of beginnings, of 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.  Current paintings investigate the second stage of alchemy, albedo, introducing the transformational action of albedic light and order. Particular virtues and qualities of form and light observed within streams, icicles, hoar frost and hailstorms have been the catalyst for new works which use collected samples of each to express the inherent beauty and dynamism of water in these specific places and forms.

Deborah graduated with a first class honours degree in Fine Art from Plymouth University in 2014. Since then she has exhibited prolifically, both 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 several publications including Internationale Kunst Heute 2016, British Vogue, Fresh Paint International and Morton Casa de Subastas: Arte Britanico Contemporaneo 2015 auction catalogue.

Recent notable shows include:

2016 248th RA Summer Exhibition – Royal Academy, London, UK
2016 Discerning Eye – The Mall Galleries, London, UK
2016 Sunday Times Watercolour Competition – The Mall Galleries, London, UK
2016 Catchments And Transcripts – solo show, Duke’s Fine Art Gallery, Dorchester
2016 Contemporary British Art – Morton Casa De Subastas auction house, Mexico City, Mexico
2015 163rd RWA Open– Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, UK
2015 Bloomberg New Contemporaries – ICA, Liverpool Biennial & Newlyn Gallery
2015 Contemporary British Art – Morton Casa De Subastas auction house, Mexico City, Mexico
2015 The Open West – Cheltenham, Glos, UK
2015 The Signature Art Prize – London, UK


A full list of exhibitions, publications and projects can be found on my CV page. All available works are for sale unless noted otherwise (go to Works: Available page and click on any of the images for further details), or use the Contact page if you require additional information or would like to discuss an exhibition or commission proposal.