Abstract to Representational Urban Life

Deborah Batt’s catalogue of art embodies both the abstract and representational. As an artist she has gained a reputation for colourful, structured and adventurous abstract work, but has recently been creating darker representational pieces. However, our urban world is the thread running through all her work. Both the abstract and representational can be seen to stem originally from the same idea, that of community, the co-existence of our urban life, architecture, nature and the rural landscape. The towns and structure we build and the way we shape, destroy and sequentially neglect the natural and urbanised landscape.

Deborah’s paintings aim to show the evolving shape and pattern of the environment, diminishing in one direction, growing in another. Within her work a melancholy trace of something already lost can be felt, and the painting is an attempt to recapture that moment in time.

Her abstract, vibrantly coloured art is based purely on the idea of community, and the recent monochrome representational work is a development from that original idea. Her ongoing series of work explores abandoned and derelict buildings. The buildings are forgotten, derelict and bleak, with no hope of rescue. Deborah tries to capture a moment in their history by painting them, intrigued by their mystery. Art on a Postcard was thrilled to be given a small-scale acrylic painting in Deborah's more recent representational style for our Secret Auction.

These darker, solemn pieces are more concerned with neglect and urban decay than any positive growth she may have alluded to before in her previous works. The monochrome paintings are often depicted at night which is highly appropriate to their situation and mood. The monochrome and use of white illuminated areas creates and eerie, ghostly effect. When looking at the images I feel quite struck by their monumental presence, very aware of their solid structure and that they are occupying a space, as if calling out ‘I am here.’ I find their sombre appearance is reminiscent of a tombstone.

Deborah works from both photographs and her imagination to create these representational monochrome paintings, primarily in acrylic and pen. She works in layers, building up, sanding back and revising each layer until she feels the composition is right. The process begins with paint, the image is then tightened up using pen. The exposed matte finish of the pen creates a three dimensional quality within the paintings. There is a real illusion of these derelict buildings and caravans projected out of the canvas as solid constructions.

About the writer

Tara is an Art Foundation and History of Art graduate born and bred in London. She has travelled the globe extensively, immersing herself in the vibrant arts and cultures the world has to offer, and hopes her next adventure will take her to India! She is currently teaching English as a foreign language whilst enjoying volunteering at Art on a Postcard, and she hopes to break into the art world!