Deborah Arnold

Deborah Arnold

Biography

My lifelong interest in theatre production and visual art blossomed into a full-time
career as a visual artist after I attended the Ottawa School of Art and trained with
a stone carver in Italy for three years. Since then my practice has evolved to
include found materials and metal casting, large scale outdoor work and personal
memorials for lifelong friends. My work always holds great emotional weight for
me personally, both through material and symbolism. I am awed by the process of
creativity that stone work offers me.

Even as I grow and my work evolves, stone is the primary starting point for my
expression. As a material it embodies strength and history, while possessing an
innate grace. I feel a fundamental connection to stone, as it forms the very earth I
walk on and which nourishes me. Each piece of stone carries with it the story of
its own long and torturous formation deep within the earth. My carving process
mirrors these stories. Each stone is at first unyielding and can be worked only
gradually. It is as if my work is a final stage of formation.

Artist Statement

Stone has always been the starting  point for my work. As a material it embodies strength and history while possessing an innate grace and power. I feel a fundamental connection to stone, as it forms the very earth I walk on and that nourishes my spirit within the earth. Why is this stone a different colour from that one?

 I struggle to describe the bond and the battle between the organic world and our industrial culture by incorporating metal in my stone designs. Sometimes I deeply feel an awareness resembling loss centered on how out of touch we seem to be with our essential origin.

My carving process mirrors the nature of these stones. Each stone is at first unyielding and can be worked only gradually. It is as if my work continues the stone’s evolution. My progress is slow as I form my responses to the glorious beauty of the earth. This natural world and my culture. During my communication with the stone, I begin to feel as if I am receiving an echo of the time when it was formed.

A classic from of nature is the universal egg form, which I concentrated on for five years recently. Egg forms, so elegant and mysterious, fragile and strong, are symbolic of beginnings, rebirth, fertility, creativity, and nourishment, both for the soul and the body. This work for  me began as a memorial for a primary family death which, through the carving and polishing, I could share more contemplation time with the person who passed away.

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