Debbie Bent 'Found' What informs this body of work?
When I am walking outside in the fields, I am reminded that I am part of everything and of no consequence at all, both are liberating feelings and ones that my work explores along with issues of nurturing and belonging.
Within my work I aim to provide a quiet place to reflect on what it is like to be human, where I show my wonder at what I discover when I am out walking. I like to play with the connections between things, seeing them as a story about our history.
The path past my work winds past a small acorn with its beautiful texture and colour and goes on to thoughts about our own inside and outside, our toughness and vulnerability. It then winds through myths and fairy tales to day dreams and on to times past and times coming, reflecting on ideas about nurture and belonging.
On through the woods the journey leads me to the shape of a fern unfolding, reminding me of a small child's hands uncurling, and further on, the hedgerows show me small symmetrical seeds or new buds on old trees, leading me to question how long have we lived side by side like this? My imagination roams to a place where I am a whale covered in barnacles or a creature that has lived until this point hidden among the branches of a tree, with skin all wood, mushroom and foxglove. Not a pair of heels in sight.
I follow tellers of myths, legends and poetry and I find walkers, bird watchers, sun worshipers, rain lovers. I find fishermen, gardeners, dreamers and farmers and I lead them to some where new but somehow familiar too. I am still exploring these ideas, my exploration continues past viewers of my work, acknowledging their response
Clay is the perfect medium to allow me to access my subconscious, to make and play and discover new things, I try not to perfect, to expose the clays fragility and to accept fragments and imperfection.Although my work has mostly been purchased for an inside space, they are often fired high enough to enable them to be placed outside
I realised I had found the right form when I started to have people offering a variety of comments on how the work made them feel.
'I don't like it, it is creepy, it makes me feel like it's being eaten or swallowed, it's horrible'
'like a man in a duvet, he looks happy to be here'
'like shells or acorns, he looks like a refugee'
'it reminds me of a wall with mould growing up it'
'it reminds me of foxgloves'
'looks so sad, like he has lost his puppy'
'looks angry or upset or something'
'reminds me of Indian tribal people'
;colour should be inside of pods, perhaps green'
'looks so sad'
'looks like he is going to get down off that wall and walk off'
'makes me feel comfortable and warm'
'makes me feel really uncomfortable' 'what is it?'
Comments from Candid Arts
'they look so alive, and have such personality'
'amazing' they remind me of the budhas growing out of trees in Thailand'
' I am reminded of amoebas, but also of myself'