Born in Chicago, Debra Porch has a Masters Degree in Art from San Diego State University (1979) and a PhD from the Queensland University of Technology (2006). Until recently she was Associate Professor in Fine Art at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.
Debra Porch has presented her installation-based art in one-person exhibitions and numerous group shows over 30 years — since moving to Australia in 1983. Many of these exhibitions have been associated with artist residencies and cross-cultural dialogues that began with a three-month residency at Chiang Mai University in 1993. Residencies followed in Hanoi at the University of Fine Art for three months in 1996 (via Asialink), returns to Vietnam (1997 and 2001), returns to Chiang Mai University (2000, 2008 and 2017), Cité Internationalé des Arts, Paris (2000 and 2013), and several residencies in Australia including at the South Australian School of Art (1999).
In 2010 and 2012, following her family heritage, Porch has undertaken residencies through the Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory in Yerevan, Armenia. (Based at the Mkitahr Sebastasi Educational Complex).
For Porch, all of these cultural experiences and connections continue to inform her art and have resulted in ongoing projects and reciprocal events such as: ‘MEETING’, a joint exhibition between Vietnam and Australia (Performance Space, Sydney, 1997 and ‘9 Lives’, a residency and exhibition for nine contemporary Vietnamese and Australian artists at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (Liverpool, NSW, 1999). Others include ‘Pop Gan Eeek Krang Nueng (Meeting Once More)’ at Chiang Mai University Art Centre (2008) and Tracing the erased as part of ‘How we know that the dead return’ at Gertrude Street Contemporary, Melbourne (2010).
Porch’s 2010 artist residency with the Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory resulted in a new installation Regards to the Family produced for the Canberra Contemporary Art Space (2011), and also Home here, there, nowhere, presented at the Crane Arts Centre, Philadelphia as part of ‘Australia Felix’ (2011). Following a return to Armenia in 2012 she produced the video work Invisible Conversations: 18 stories, exhibited in 2013 at the Queensland Centre of Photography. In November 2014 she completed a residence exhibition project with Crane Arts, Philadelphia, USA, that invited three of her PhD candidates to collaborate on. The month project, Unpredictable Conceptions in Transdisciplinary Collaborations – Remembering Louise in Philadelphia, focused on investigating the city through walking.
Artist’s statement [here]