Debbie Neill is a multimedia artist based in Cromwell and Dunedin where she works with recycled materials, acrylics and watercolours to explore science, the human figure, and environmentalism.
Debbie has a Bachelor of Ceramics (2018) and a Bachelor of Visual Arts with Merit (2021) from Otago Polytechnic. She has been practicing life-drawing since 2007, and it is one of her deepest creative passions. In 2022 two of her wire Life Drawing Sculptures were shortlisted for the prestigious Parkin Drawing Prize.
Debbie’s work brings together a lifetime love of science, natural history, curiosity collections, the Victorian Era and life drawing studies. It touches on the issues of entanglement, mortality, and environmentalism. She has always had a fascination for the Victorian age, particularly houses, designs, and the way of life. This fascination has driven her to research Victorian Era themes, which strongly influence the resolution of her art pieces.
Historically considered an essential skill for an artist, life drawing uses the traditional notion of ‘seeing’ as it highlights the sensual nature and movement of line drawing. Using this way of ‘seeing’, Debbie’s 3D wire representations of the female form, dead birds and flowers connect the intrinsic scientific nature of these forms. She uses the language of drawing and mark-marking and deftly translates it to sculpture. Her use of recycled wire refers to entanglement and the ageing process: depicting soft forms with a hard material that rusts and disintegrates.