Debby Akam works from a studio in Sockbridge near Lake Ullswater. Her work uses video, collage and woodcut prints to engage with particular places and spaces, often using the device of a journey or passage through a landscape.
Moon, (a video piece recently shown at the Visualising the Rural conference at the University of Cumbria in 2013) is a personal response to the legacy of Romanticism employing some of the mechanisms by which landscape painters have traditionally reduced the vastness of landscape to the scale of the domestic. It uses immersive music and seductive imagery to draw the viewer into the work to suggest interior spaces of the mind, and layers of consciousness that might predominate in dreams, and meditative states.
Works on paper explore similar territory, within the traditions of Painting and Printmaking. New paintings and woodcuts are characterised by saturated colour, and overlaid slabs of decorative patterning occurring within a shallow space that references Modernist abstract art and Cubism. They draw on organic and vernacular forms, and represent an impulse to make something uses primary forms and natural materials: wood and hand- made paper.
Print and video both allow the possibility of repeating sequences in endless variations, allowing for serendipity and chance. Working in series with mono- print uses very basic technology, and facilitates a process of dialogue with a selected lexicon of imagery and patterns. Implied is a feeling of potential, as these forms can be combined in many permutations and invite different interpretations. When one pattern meets another, its integrity is disrupted, and a transformative process takes place. This undermines the value of a perfect form, finality or closure, and the images have a sense of incompleteness, and of being on the way to somewhere rather than of having arrived.
Debby occasionally runs print making workshops for up to 4 participants. The studio is open for visits throughout the year by appointment.
CV & Education
Qualifications and training
2004 - PhD, University of Sunderland
1989 - MFA, Northumbria University
1981 - MA, Fine Art, Edinburgh University
2014 13th Upfront Cumbrian Artists Open Exhibition
2013 Moon Video installation at Crown Gallery, Carlisle, during Visualising the Rural- conference organized by the University of Cumbria,
2013 Girlfish(Video link) included in exhibition and anthology, Poems Underwater. www.poemsunderwater.wordpress.com
2013 C-art at Rheghed
2013 Artfest North
2013 12th Upfront Cumbrian Artists Open Exhibition
2010 - Swimming Without Water, Installation at Moseley Baths, Birmingham UK
2008 - Ecocentric, Video Lounge, Sonoma County Museum, Santa Rosa, California
2005 - Elles sont passees par d'ici. Artevisa, Loguivy, France
2005 -Green Belt FRED, B+Q, Penrith, Cumbria
2005 - Members Exhibition, Folly, Lancaster
2004 - Off The Wall, Fold Gallery, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria
2003 - Herd, Sewborwens Farm, Penrith, Cumbria, England
Selected Residencies and Commissions
2011 - Ultimate Learning, Dowdales School, Dalton in Furness, , Cumbria, UK
2010 School outreach Project for the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, Cumbria
2008-09 Creative Practitioner for Creative Partnerships, Dowdales School,
2007 Abolished, Project with Central Lancaster High School for Lancaster
2007 Joint Lead Creative for Creative Partnerships, Cumbria, James Rennie
2007 Lead Creative for Creative Partnerships, Cumbria. Southfield Technology
2006 - Next Stop Byker, Newcastle City Arts for Nexus, Byker Metro, Newcastle upon Tyne
2004 - It's a Different World, Chrysalis Arts and Lower Kersal Allotment and Horticultural Assoc, The Lowry Hotel, Salford Public commissions
2003 - Exchange, Jumpers, Skipton, North Yorkshire.
Publications and conference papers
2003 A-N Magazine Skipton Transformed
2004 Folly Lancaster, conference paper: New Media Art and the Rural
2005 Artist’s presentation at New Fields: Art and Agriculture
Conference, Littoral, Leeds
2005 Artist’s presentation at Out Of The Box Into The Landscape,
CLEAR, Cumbria Institute of the Arts
2005 A-N Magazine Environmental Engagement
2008 Cue Cumbria! (Spring 2008), Making The Wind Visible
2014 Cumbria Life (January 2014), A Creative Life
2000 FUSE bursary from the Compassion in World Farming Trust and Littoral
2003 Arts Council of England
2005 Arts Council of England