I am interested primarily in lines and the patterns and spaces in between. Architecture offers a limitless variety of opportunities to create work based on linear descriptions.
As an evolution from my earlier series of paintings concentrating on dilapidated East Anglian Barns, I have recently been inspired by other types of buildings. A commission to paint Lloyds of London for a client made me look at other structures from modern office blocks to historical sites, buildings undergoing restoration and ‘new builds’.
These have resulted in a number of paintings where scaffolding has been an important part of the composition. The structure of the building underneath and the support network of the scaffolding enfolding it offer an increased complexity. This complexity carries over into my drawings where I emphasise various qualities such as patterns, angles and shapes. The next stage is the painting. I find that some lend themselves to pure linear treatment with a subtle background formed from a simplified detail of the main building. In others I use a complicated mosaic of pastel colours to solidify the structures and reduce the strength of the lines.
I have been influenced by the rigid structure and illusions of Bridget Riley but also the patterning of Klimt, Schiele, Boetti and Klee. My images have been compared to Op Art for the tricks they play on the eye.
2013 has started well with being selected to the Royal Watercolour Society Contemporary Watercolour Exhibition, Bankside, London again with 'Restoration Project: Cromer', a solo exhibition at the Over the Sofa Gallery, Wivenhoe, Essex and part of a joint exhibition entitled 'Covert & Obscured' at The Brentwood Gallery, Romford, Essex.
2012 started with being selected to the Royal Watercolour Society Contemporary Watercolour Exhibition, Bankside, London and continues through to selection for Eastern Open, Norwich Castle Open Art Show and 'Visions of East Anglia' exhibitions.
In 2011 I had work in both the London Group Open and The New English Art Club Open, which sold.
In 2007 my painting, Norfolk Barn I, was selected for the prestigious London Group Open in London. It was selected again for the Norwich Castle Open Art Show. I have taken a brave step since 2007 as I have entered a new phase in my painting style. It is reassuring that this development seems to appeal to my audience: ‘These are paintings that I fully expect to see featured in glossy magazines, on walls of loft-style appartments or trendy London homes. If an interior designer hasn’t discovered Debbie Ayles’ works yet, I would be very surprised and rather disappointed.’ Rachel Sloane, East Anglian Daily Times, 30 August 2008. In January 2009 The Independent newspaper covered my artwork and the research that developed from my 2004-6 sciart collaboration.
In 2005 I won the 'Art meets Science' category of the Daily Telegraph/Novartis Photographic awards. In 2006 I was the co-contributor for the chapter 'Sarah Raphael's Migraine with Aura as Inspiration for the Foray of Her Work into Abstraction', in 'The Neurobiology of Painting' edited by F Clifford Rose, published by Academic Press, Elsevier, San Diego, Volume 74 of the 'International Review of Neurobiology'. Also in 2006 Jesmond Barn was used to illustrate an article in BBC Focus Magazine. The Science magazine published my artwork and the sciart research (Issue 13 July 2007).
In 2004 Arnold Wilkins and I received a 'sciart Research and Development Award' from The Wellcome Trust to explore the relationship between pattern combinations and colour, and the visual stress they can induce. This Award culminated in an Exhibition in July 2006 at the University Gallery, University of Essex.
In 2003 some of my images were included in 'L'Arte/di Giorgio de Chirico' published in Milan along with several quotes, 'The New York Daily Newsletter' published a web article I co-wrote. I have appeared on local radio stations to publicise exhibitions and talk about art as well as a BBC World Service broadcast about migraine in art.
Additionally I have co-written published papers in medical reviews including the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in August 2002 and Cephalalgia 2002.
From time to time I teach art degree students as well as give talks to art groups and GCSE art students. I also take on commissions for clients.
Clients include Starbucks, The Wellcome Trust Photographic Library, Essex County Council, NHS and Private.
Current and forthcoming events
- June 2013: Solo Exhibition at Norwich Playhouse, Norwich Playhouse, Norwich (more info)
- 2013 Solo Exhibition at Norwich Playhouse, Norwich Playhouse, Norwich, Norfolk NR3 1AB
- 2013 Waiting at the Bus Stop, Over the Sofa Gallery, Wivenhoe, Essex
- 2011 Solo Exhibition, Essex Records Office, Chelmsford, Essex
- 2010 Solo Exhibition, Halesworth Gallery, Halesworth, Suffolk
- 2010 End of Residency Exhibition, Cuckoo Farm Studios, Colchester, Essex
- 2010 Ancient and Modern Reconfigured, The Digby Gallery, Colchester
- 2008 East Anglian Barns and Other Work, Digby Gallery, Colchester Essex
- 2008 Debbie Ayles, The Cut Arts Centre, Halesworth, Suffolk
- 2008 Debbie Ayles, Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, Essex
- 2013 Covert & Obscured, The Brentwood Road Gallery, Romford, Essex
- 2013 Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Mall Galleries, London
- 2013 Royal Watercolour Society Watercolour Exhibition, Bankside Gallery, London
- 2012 Norwich Castle Open Art Show, Norwich Castle, Norwich, Norfolk
- 2012 Summer Miscelleny, Highgate Gallery, 26 Highgate High Street, Highgate, London
- 2012 Norwich Past and Present, Mandells Gallery, Elm Hill Norwich, Norfolk
- 2010 Neal's Yard Galleries, Chelsea, London
- 2010 Artworks 11th Annual Exhibition, Blackthorpe Barns, Rougham, Bury St Edmunds,
- 2010 House Open, Claremont Hotel, Brighton
- 2010 Artworks Returns to Wingfield, Wingfield Barns, Suffolk
- 2009 ARTSPACE 09, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire
- 2007 Winter Exhibition, Folkes Miller Gallery, Long Melford, Suffolk
- 2006 Striking the Eye:Aversion to Contemporary Art, University of Essex Gallery, University of Essex, Wivenhoe, Essex
- 2004 Taking a Line for a Walk, firstsite, Colchester, Essex
- 2003 Showing Off, Cressing Temple Barns, Braintree
- 2003 Head Street Gallery, Halstead
- 2003 University of Newfoundland, Harlow Campus, Essex, Harlow
- 2002 Taplin Gallery, Woodbridge
- 2002 Stirred not Shaken, Les Livres Gallery, Colchester
- 2010 Residency Award, Cuckoo Farm Studios, Colchester, Essex
Competitions, prizes and awards
- 2013 Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours Open Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London
- 2013 Royal Watercolour Society Watercolour Exhibition, Banksdie Gallery, London
- 2012 Norwich Castle Open Art Show, Norwich Castle, Norwich, Norfolk
- 2012 'Visions of East Anglia', Colchester Arts Society, The Minories Galleries, Colchester, Essex
- 2012 Eastern Open, King's Lynn Arts Centre, King's Lynn
- 2012 Royal Watercolour Society Contemporary Watercolour Competition, Royal Watercolour Society, Bankside Gallery, London
- 2012 Art Competition, Creffied Road Surgery, Colchester, Essex
- 2011 The New English Art Club, Mall Galleries, London
- 2011 The London Group Open Exhibition, The Cello Factory, Waterloo, London
- 2011 Elements:The Material World, the forum, Norwich
- 2011 Eastern Open 2011, King's Lynn Art Centre, King's Lynn
- 2010 ING Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London
- 2010 Elements, the forum, Norwich, Norfolk
- 2009 Art Liberating Lives, The Mall Galleries, London
- 2009 The London Group Open, Menier Gallery, London
- 2009 Royal West of England Academy 7th Open Print Exhibition, RWA Bristol, Bristol
- 2009 Fine Art Open, The Minories, Colchester, Essex
- 2009 Eastern Open 09, Kings Lynn Art Centre, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
- 2009 21st Century Watercolour, Royal Watercolour Society, Bankside Gallery, London
- 2008 Norwich Castle Open Art Show, Norwich Castle, Norwich, Norfolk
- 2008 Eastern Open 08, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
- 2007 The London Group Open Exhibition, Menier Gallery, London
- 2007 Eastern Open, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
- 2006 Eastern Open, King's Lynn, Norfolk
- 2005 Visions Of Science, Science Museums and Art Galleries, Touring all over Great Britain (more info)
- 2005 Winner of Art meets Science Award, Visions Of Science Photographic Awards, Daily Telegraph and Novartis
- 2004 Eastern Open, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
- 2004 The Wellcome Trust sciart Award, based at the University of Essex, Essex
- 2003 45th Essex Open, Beecroft Art Gallery, Westcliffe on Sea
- 2003 Fine Art Open, Colchester School of Art and Design, Colchester
- 2002 Contemporary Art Selection, firstsite, Colchester
- 2001 Eastern Open, Arts Centre, Kings Lynn
Web links - gallery/work/projects
Web links - article/press