SCULPTURE ~ Debora Alanna


My sculpture practice is diverse. 

Here's a slideshow of various stages of my practise:
I am interested in materials, light, place and time, and
 enjoy developing the poetics of space. 

Exploring the tension between form and content, 
I thrive on revealing the inconsistencies of 
humanity and metaphysical depths. 

I love making sculpture. 

Here's a sample of my work in progress:

The following is an overview of my sculpture shows...


Integrate Arts Festival 2012
Invitational Group Show contribution at the  Gallery 1580
Curated by Richard Pawley

Manifest (Relationship)

About Manifest (Relationship)...

Relationships change daily. All interactions between people are poetic adaptations, 
shaping and configuring a dynamic between what we need and what we want.
 Four works presented here define affecting forces that emerge 
when emotional connections change. 

4 sculptures
Paraffin, jewellers wax, oil pigment on Plaster of Paris
Each aprox 9” x 8” x 5”

‘Monday Morning’, ‘Tuesday Afternoon’, ‘Thursday Afternoon’, ‘Friday Night’.

A technical note: 

I chose to make the work rough,
 because relationships can manifest turbulence, difficulties 
while maintaining the integrity 
of each participant, and configured outcome.
The white paraffin is translucent, referring  to the transmission 
of light that people display when engaged, although 
allowing the complete recognition of themselves, as people 
hold back their thoughts and emotions 
as a protective mechanism. 
The blue jeweller wax, harder and more distinct than paraffin,  
highlights the mutually acknowledged delights 
and memories a couple may share, 
the blue oil, the most intense memories of their mutual life. 


Balcony Gallery  ~ Oct 2011

Curated by Christine Clark

Wire frame, clothes, plaster, pen lights
.75 m x .5 m aprox. (each)

I think there is more than laundry, there is 'Mistress Quickly', 
 laundress and so much else. (Merry Wives of Windsor/Shakespeare) 
And the stream of streams, the Balcony proved to move thoughts:

"This stream had been the good angel of my thoughts all the day, 
keeping them ever moving and ever fresh, cleansing and 
burnishing them, quite an open-air laundry of the mind."
(The Quest of the Golden Girl/Gallienne)

Will stares of clothed apparitions last the month? 

How transitory are our hopes and fears, 
that they need to be wrung out 
more frequently than our clothes? 
 Laundry is a comfort, 
if it does nothing but allow time to pass 
thoughtfully in the open air.




Mary and Moses Sculpture Garden
North Saanich, Vancouver Island
July 2011

Ponder – Yin & Yang
Styrofoam, leaf matter and acrylic paint (40 cm x 25 cm aprox.)

An invitational show, artists from Victoria BC were asked to respond 
to the Mary and Moses estate. In the centre of the property, 
an unkempt pond dark with the mysteries of the life of the place 
was dark and murky. I chose this place, placement for my work 
as it seemed to require a response. 

The death of the former residents, 
the death of living waters inspired ‘Ponder’ – Yin and Yang. 
Each work was constructed to float, and contrast with the 
black water, much as the yin/yang symbols do graphically. 
Each work also refers to female/male entities.

Ponder - Yin

Ponder - Yang


Outside In - May 2011 - Victoria BC

Ministry of Casual Living -  May 2011 - Victoria BC

Mixed Media (chicken wire, fabric, plastic, grout, light)

An installation depicting the myth of casual living. 
Outside In brings the 
mysteries of space and the fragility of vulnerability, 
which cannot be casual. 

Nooks and crannies of the space hint to the untouchable nature of 
art and its revealing as well as concealing nature.

The gallery was nearly a window space, as viewers could barely 
fit in with the work inside. Draped and framed, 
the interior seemed casual, 
but determined by the causality of poverty.



Commission by Joe Clare - Edmonton Alberta - 2010

“The subtle essence acted on him like a charmed draught, 
and caused the opaque substance of his animal being 
to grow transparent, 
or, at least, translucent; so that a spiritual gleam 
was transmitted through it, with a clearer lustre than hitherto.” 

The House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorn. 

Revisioning is the 7 masks/faces of discovery, 
sagacious explanations and 
penetrations into the true essence 
of our internal contemplation of self. 

The number seven, considered a sacred numeral 
because of the seven phases of creation (Genesis), 
seven plexuses or chakras 
or etheric body and some versions of the Kabbalah 
have seven sphiroth.  

 Seven possesses the quality of psychic awareness and 
has the ability to question sincerity. 

Through humour, these comedic masks emulate 
Aristotle’s Poetics: “...the comic mask is ugly and distort, 
but does not imply pain.” 

We can don a face that emulates our joyful nature, 
embracing the ludicrous with a numinous experience. 
We can revision our thinking to encourage a magical outlook.



Commission by Joe Clare - Edmonton Alberta - 2010

Clairaudience (mystical hearing) is integral to the 
Anahatha or heart/stillness Chakra. Through this spiritual centre, 
we hear the pulse of the universe.

Auricle is composed of four sculptures because four 
denotes earthly phenomena,
grounding us to be accessible to numinous experience. 

As we are bound by Earth’s four cardinal points 
(North, South, East and West),
 time’s four seasons/ four lunar 
weeks we are also associated with four classical
 "elements" of fire, air, earth, 
and water. The association with Earth means that four 
symbolizes being "down-to-earth." 

Four is the first composite number is linked to the 
idea of an other-directed or "composite personality" 
that takes cues from diverse 
and often contradictory sources, leading to fiercely 
autonomous, "out-of-the-box" thinking.  

 Auricle allows diverse hearing of disparate thought.


2010 - Exhibition TBA

Paraffin & jeweller's wax on plaster
(20 cm x 24 cm x 20 cm aprox.)


Doors of Perception 

Davis Museum - Barcelona Spain - 2009
Plaster bandage & acrylic paint
7 cm x 7 cm x 7 cm


Although this work is not sculpture, it was inspired by  the 
 sculpture  created in Toronto the previous year.

I for an Eye -Book about Death - 2010 Mube

The poem/photo and sculpture were 
created as a response to 10 days of blindness.


I for an Eye

Toronto 2009 



National Gallery - Almaty Kazakhstan 2008

Installation - 5 archetypal figures  with felt spiral 
(wire frame, plaster, fabric & 
hand made felt by indigenous nomads, apple branches) 

In my opinion, artists create self portraits, no matter what the 
original intention –the outcome of the work reveals self. 
Try as we might, we reveal our identity, our uniqueness, 
 a signature of our soul. 

 This is how I view one aspect of my recent installation.   
I did not consciously set out to do this. 

Once the work was presented, 
I was struck by several levels of interpretation the work 
may be subject to or clarification the sculpture would explain, 
and especially, how it revealed 
who I am and how I think of myself.  

First I realized at least one archetype was dominant 
in each figure. Some figures could be construed 
to reveal more than one archetype – 
or if I think about it some more, maybe more than two...   

Even the spiral in the central 
configuration was an archetypal symbol... 

And further, the shapes that each 
figure was composed of were abstracted primal symbols – 
triangular, circular and square.  

 I even began to see some hieroglyphics, 
pictograms, marks representing sacred 
iconography in the lines of the figures. 

After digesting that revelation, I realized 
I was describing life stages. Simplification of life stages - 
but surely they were there. And more, 
the stages were equal to the next, 
none more prominent, as if there was a balance. 

Each was interconnected with the other, and each was 
blatantly important as the next.

Interestingly, I did not order them sequentially.  
What did that mean?

Now my questions for myself... 
So what does this say about me, how does it portray my character, 
my personality? Why did I call the work Congregation
when none of the figures actually meet?   

Why do the figures only connect by the spiral, the whirling...?
Then I need to understand and explain the shrouding, 
the emptiness within the figures, 
the broken fragility of the sculpture, 
the facelessness. 

And finally, 
the cluster of apple branches placed in the 
middle of the spiral centre must be clarified, 
which can be described as the only 
congregated gathering of any kind in this show.


Coda - Vallauris Fance - 2007 

Coda is a reflection, a codicil.  Reassessment of materiality, of sculptural practice, of abstraction and figuration... 

Coda was a necessity. This statement brought me to a new thought process.

Working with blocks of cement expanded with pumice, 
carving again seemed to be a departure for me, 
when it really was going back to my working roots.
Carving is my first love.


Ebb and Flow - Spiazzi - Venice Italy 2007

This work is about a concept of passage, and the oscillation between waning energy and fluidity in uninterrupted movement of conscious and unconscious thought.

The work is a steadfast concentration on forms 
that do not fluctuate, that are statuesque, in that they 
impose stillness upon the viewer, 
requiring concerted enquiry. 

There is no geography or architecture 
to give the sculpture reference. 

Inspired by the wake from the vapporetti
and gondolas on the canals of Venice, 
the movement of the boats 
breaking the water's stillness, 
unrelenting, moving forward distorting surfaces; 
the water remains unchallenged. 

The canal holds all surface warps and entwining penetrations, 
and remains an unaffected system, a way to and from somewhere. 

The canal is the emotional space that is created
 by the expectant forms 
that have optimistically emerged as sculpture.

Canal: Ebb and Flow is about a concept of passage, 
and the oscillation between waning energy and fluidity 
in uninterrupted movement of conscious and unconscious thought.

The canal holds all surface warps and entwining penetrations, and remains an unaffected system, a way to and from somewhere.
Coming or going, the surface is thrust into undulating forms.


Group Exhibition - Verrocchio - Tuscany 2007
Cement expanded with pumice (carved)

Face of Ages
The Tuscany environment and architecture brought this face to light,
a labourer of the ancient residency building?


A 2 piece work responding to t relationships
symbolized with its ring that is not secure on the finger.


Not leaves, the vegetation,  but leaving – the emotional togetherness and
pulling apart by people who are not meant to be together, 
both culturally and intellectually. 


Catharsis - Vallauris France 2007

Nine works were shown  - each circumnavigate a process within a liberating, energizing exploration of ideas.

Each work is an opportunity for renewal of invigoration, of healing.

But more, the sculptures describe valuable attributes of  consideration. 

Structurally tortuous, these works shape the unknown, intense feelings resulting from profound introspection.
Flightless Bird

 Catharsis - Vallauris 2007 - Installation



  OPEN TRAJECTORY by Debora Alanna - 2006

5 works in Plaster of Paris, produced in residence at the 
Atelier Silex in Trois Riviers, Quebec. 
This sculpture has no top or bottom. 

These  works are the rediscovery 
of self through a route of curves and arcs that 
emotional pathways create...

5 works were necessary to describe this foray because 
distinct deviations for each variant rework the idea of change. 

The object of the work is to describe trajectory or path, 
which is not a means 
to a destination - but the 
arcing and curvature of a personal journey.

Variations on a theme, this set collectively describes the void, its importance to disengage the past with an open heart for the present opportunities and adventures.

Change is a slow, discomforting process that challenges 
our understanding while altering our paradigms.

These works prudently caress worn ideas and 
release a prospect for transformation.


 Atelier Silex 2006 
Carved Plaster - 18" x 24" x  20"

Single work in Plaster of Paris, 
produced in residence at the Atelier Silex in Trois Riviers, Quebec. 

Duplicity is the portrait of a relationship triangle.  
It explores the pull and pain of deceit and betrayal, unrequited love and passion.

Emotional suffering is explored with structural contours that pull and strain.
Figurative abstraction presents as ovoid shapes that appear conjoined. 

The unsaid communication in relationships 
is the main concentration of this work. 

Describing blatant allure, enticement and nuances of 
humiliation, discomfiture, the debilitating forces 
of jealousy and anger, 
this work strives to contain the monstrously convoluted 
humanity that lovers endure.
Duplicity - (Detail) by Debora Alanna - Atelier Silex 2006 
Carved Plaster - 18" x 24" x  20"

HIATUS: Work resumed at a residency in
TROIS-RIVIÈRES, Atelier Silex, Quebec in the summer of 2006.

Documentation at a residency in 1998 in the KanoriaCentre for the Arts  in Ahmedabad was lost due to film melting in 46 degree heat. 1998-2006. 

Because of personal reasons, no sculpture was made. 
Paintings produced are in a private collection.

A book of poems and short stories that began in this 
time period is still in progress.

Space Between - 1996 by Debora Alanna - Plaster Bandage - 12" x 8" x 6"


This work was made in in 1996 of plaster bandages, 
prior to knowing that a trip to India was eminent.

Banyan Tree and Space Between sculptures are the beginning of many plaster works, where shape and form describe interior spaces.


Sea Convergence 

Digital Investigations: Differential Space

Teck Gallery, Simon Fraser University, 1992

Original sculpture was made from sea stones in Monterey, California. 

Digitization of work (3D laser scan) was made at 
Cyberware, in Monterey CA.  

Wireframe image was produced at the Vancouver Film School (VFS). 

In 1995, a segment of 3 Forms was digitized (above) with a laser 3D scanner.
This work was then printed as a wireframe , and had the capacity 
for further processing into stereolithography.

3 Forms - Detail
Mountainous Risings 
 'Magic Lab' UBC - 1992 Alias software


1991 - 1984 

Light as Material - Burnaby Art Gallery – 1991 
Mixed Media 
(styrene, glass, neon, florescent lights, 
incandescent lights, poly balls, grout)

 Each work of this show was based on a poem called 
‘Hundred Headless Woman’ by Max Ernst.
The incorporation of light into each work moved illumination from outside the work to integrate it within the sculpture.

Light as Material - Detail

Light as Material - Detail

Light as Material - Detail



Exhibited in Urbanarium – ‘Lost Vancouver’  1987  Vancouver BC
Expanded aluminium ( 7 - 9' tetrahedrons), 
black grout, aluminum lathe shavings

Challenge of the Mountains was exhibited in the group show, Urbanarium
 The theme of the work was ‘Lost Vancouver’.

The premise of this work was that the Rocky mountains created a psychological barrier, segregating thought process 
and physical connectivity from eastern Canada. 

Challenge of the Mountains - Installation

After the Urbanarium show, this work was presented 
in varrious venues, including Triumph 
at the University of British Columbia, 
and on Trafalgar Street, 
in Vancouver BC, seen here.


Lightworks 1989 – Gallery Too, Vancouver, BC
Cold rolled steel, poly balls, underlay

Grounding of vision, such as that referred to by 
 Edwin Abbot in his novella, Flatland, written in 1884:

               “But now, drawing back to the edge of the table, 
gradually lower your eye ..., 
            and you will find the penny becoming more 
                   and more oval to your view, and at last when you have placed your eye exactly on the edge of the table...
the penny will then have ceased to appear oval at all, 
and will have become, so far as you can see, a straight line.”

           The straight line referred to by Abbot succinctly describes the visual illusion 
that visual perception alludes to. The abstraction of an eye, 
of vision is the primary idea in Lightworks

              The eye is grounded, and the form repeated to reiterate the 
importance of the perception of seeing.   

The eyes are interrupted by the bisection 
 of the curved formation over the ‘eyeball’.  
 This distortion to sightedness is a response to the vision 
of the artist being questioned; assertion of that particular, 
and maybe peculiar vision is articulated with rhetorical persuasion.

                 If the eye is the window to the soul, then these windows are open to new insights, different perceptions - closely guarded ones.

 Lightworks - Detail


3 Forms
1986 – or Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Plaster, black paraffin, welded aluminum

Each form represents three different aspects of existence – response 
to place, impetus of spirit, and interconnection.
  • A welded aluminum altar was created to display the work, 
  • which was situated in the centre of the gallery.

  • The idea of altar brings import to the concepts revealed.


Sculpture: Garden

Curated by Todd Davis
1984 - Unit Pitt Gallery

Welded steel, Cement,  steel poles, polystyrene plastic, glass, dust-bane
78 pieces 1’ x 1’ x 1 or 2’ & 9-9’

1984 - Unit Pitt Gallery
 Welded steel, Cement 

Sculpture: Garden was conceived to reveal the congregation of ideas as they exist in the state of cultivation. 
Blocks or modules of squared armatures were coated in terracotta coloured cement in various configurations to denote the exploration of the cube, 
the natural building block shape. 

Steel tubes were hung that allowed a convergence of these objects, 
where groupings interacted.  

The central ‘pool’ made of polystyrene, suggested the wellspring
from which the ideas began. 
78 pieces 1’ x 1’ x 1 or 2’ & 9-9’ steel poles, polystyrene plastic, dust-bane