The image above was from my Crania Solo Exhibition in 2017. This has always been my vision for these skulls: a plain white wall with a row of monochrome skulls, floating in white frames. I loved every minute of this exhibition and my skulls remain some of my top sellers.
These skull artworks form part of my ongoing body of work entitled Crania. Here’s the exhibition writeup:
“Her Crania body of work is a meticulous study of animal antlers and skulls. The focus of each piece is a close-up study of the horns, focusing on the dichotomy between the dark tonal values of the horns – which remain largely the same in life as in death – and the lighter tones of the facial bones – which are only revealed posthumously. The dark and often heavily textured horns are a far departure from the smoothness of the cranial bones that it’s hard to believe they are a part of the same whole.
It is this contradiction that fascinates the artist and allows her to portray an aggregation of widely varying textures across one piece, taking a thing of morbidity and revealing its beauty.
Furthermore, ‘to capture a skull as a piece of art’, says Debbie New, ‘provides a renaissance for the creature being portrayed: a reawakening of sorts, so that even in its passing, it’s beauty can continue to be experienced and enjoyed.’ Her portraiture-style subject matter portrayal is a common theme throughout her work, whether it’s a portrait of a person, an insect, an animal or a skull. Portraiture, by its very nature, offers the artist an indulgent stillness and a solitude, but she feels that its beauty is in its ability to instil the same quietude in the viewer viewing it as in the artist rendering it. Her artmaking, she believes, is at once a homage to the creature she is portraying, and at the same time a journey of exploration through her own mind as she delves deeply and painstakingly into her subject matter.”