A discussion with Deborah Williams

Deborah Williams is an artist who is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Working with intaglio printmaking, she lovingly explores the world of the canine.

Please enjoy my dialogue with Deborah about her art and interests.

Deborah Williams, Looking in from the outside, 2012, etching, engraving and roulette intaglio, 58 x 77.5 cm, edition 20

Rona: Please describe your art for us.

Deborah: When I look at dogs in and around me, I question whether dogs are seen for what they are, as separate beings. I observe that while we do not objectify our dogs per se, our feelings are frequently filtered through human perspectives; these dogs are therefore anthropomorphized, brought unwittingly into our worlds.

I strive to challenge the anthropomorphizing of dogs even though I acknowledge that my work, in common with historical and contemporary contexts of the representation of dogs, is none the less filtered through my own perspectives and brought into our world.

I aim to depict the dog not as a breed above, apart or beyond, but of its own, captured in a moment.

Deborah Williams, Alternative view, 2012, etching, engraving and roulette intaglio, 36 x 89 cm, edition 20

R: Why is the dog as subject matter so special to you?

D: I did not consciously set out to make images of dogs. It just seemed to evolve organically. In 1992 I adopted a Blue Heeler x from the pound. Ruby accompanied me often to the studio and I drew her in those moments when I felt at a complete loss or creatively uninspired. This seemed to happen often.

I began to look at the dog as a potent marker for the fragility of the world we live in. And they represent the qualities we advocate but cannot sustain – unquestioning love, inner peace, inexhaustible spirit. They educate, intrigue and amuse me.

Deborah Williams, A point of view II, 2012, etching, roulette and engraving intaglio, 69 x 43 cm, edition 20

R: Who has been an inspiration to you art wise?

D: Noel Counihan. I was fortunate to grow up with his linocut print The Hunger, 1959. Counihan believed printmaking was a Socialist art form, easier to disseminate to the masses. This philosophy had a direct impact on my decision to study Printmaking and has continually inspired me. His images keep me grounded. They challenge me to keep reflecting and I believe, always will.

R: Which of your art making tools is the favourite?

D: Roulette wheels.

Deborah Williams, Projection, 2011, engraving and roulette, 21 x 19 cm, edition 20

R: When you are working what do you listen to?

D: RRR or music ranging from Joan as Policewoman, Gil Scott-Heron and Beethoven.

R: What is your all time favourite book, and are you currently reading anything interesting?

D: All time favourite book would have to be The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger and I’m currently reading Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean.

R: Where do you like to visit for relaxation when not making art?

D: Somewhere warm with an amazing beach and great food. If that’s not possible, walking the parks around the Merri Creek or Yarra with my dog Kish.

R: Thanks for chatting with me Deb!

If you would like to see Deborah’s work in the flesh run along to her exhibition Sense of Self at Australian Galleries, 50 Smith Street, Collingwood, VIC, 3066. The show is on now and continues until Sunday 16 September 2012.

You can also check out more of Deb’s delightful work by clicking here to visit her website.


8 Comments on “A discussion with Deborah Williams”

  1. Kath says:

    Nice one Rona. I am going to take my self off to Deborah’s exhibition this weekend and then pop in on yours! Cheers. x

  2. Stephen Spurrier says:

    Great to see Deb doing some doggie chat – it links to her work well. Cheers, S.

  3. The Jacksons says:

    Hi Rona,

    I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your interview with Deborah Williams – I looked at her website which I alsofound very inspiring – I have been drawn to her work since I have been involved with printmaking.

    I have also wanted to email to tell you that I love getting your new posts, and find them inspiring – they certainly help when the self-motivation is lagging!

    Looking forward to the next instalment.

    Cheers

    Pam J

  4. Leanne Cole says:

    Her prints are so wonderful, nice to get some inspiration into the woman behind them.


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