Deborah Beck has held 18 solo exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne, participated in multiple group exhibitions throughout Australia, and has been a finalist in the Dobell prize for drawing, the Sulman Prize, the Blake Prize and the Portia Geach Memorial Prize for portrait painting. She studied at the National Art School and Alexander Mackie CAE in the 1970's and received a Master of Arts (History) at the University of Sydney in 2010. She has taught in art schools in Sydney for over twenty years and is currently a lecturer, historian, collections manager and archivist at the National Art School in Darlinghurst. She co-curated major exhibitions at the NAS Gallery in 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2016.
Deborah Beck is also an author and her first book Hope in Hell: a history of Darlinghurst Gaol and the National Art School, was published by Allen and Unwin in 2005. Her second book Set in Stone: the Cell Block Theatre was published by UNSW press in April 2011. She received a NSW Premier's History award for Set in Stone in 2012, and in 2013 held a residency at the Royal College of Art, London. Her third book, Rayner Hoff: the life of a sculptor, NewSouth Publishing, was launched in March 2017 during an exhibition of Hoff’s work which Deborah curated in his former studio at the National Art School.
The idea of a veiled surface has been a primary concern in my paintings and drawings for many years. Taking simple objects, old photographs, interiors and architectural spaces as a starting point, my work ultimately deals with memory and hidden images. Layers of paint, rubbed back drawings and complex surfaces reveal subtle traces of the original subject matter in an attempt to interpret our world in an intimate and thought provoking way.