Artist Statement: I worked a great deal over the past year; that effort serving as both anchor and compass during challenging times. My new works all have as their antecedents the Black Spots of Winter series begun in late 2019, continuing what was for me a new exploration of circular, organic forms. It wasn’t, however, until unexpectedly returning to studio work after the sudden cancellation of my spring 2020 Budapest trip, that a conscious exploration of impermanence and an intentional double-sided working process began. The series of works done in 2020 were an active engagement in variability, expressing a disregard for fixed presentation that was both playful and desperate.The works were made up of many individual elements assembled into countless configurations. A photographic documentation of these reconfigurations came to define the work’s identity as multiple, variable wholes, defying the concept of one original. The idea that such photographic documentation of impermanent assemblages could be enough, surfaced with compelling force in response to our devolving context. With limits crowding in and around to the point of purposelessness or suffocation, I felt that a sense of everything running out simultaneously – time, materials, motivation to fabricate – might well leave the creative impulse free-standing, unencumbered by any illusion of physical permanence. Now a year later, with life still being defined as a present continuous, I nevertheless sense that there has been movement, although the direction remains an unknown. In my next works, too, I’ll be looking for openings, for definition, for terre firma.
Bio: I was born in Brooklyn in the second half of the last century, daughter of a graphic artist and a photographer. Early art studies in NYC museums and public schools continued through undergraduate and graduate work in the US and abroad. After completing an MFA on a fellowship, I lectured, edited, curated, mentored and taught undergraduate and graduate studio art for over twenty years, all the while working as an active artist.
I was the recipient of numerous grants in painting and writing, including multiple grants from the State Arts Councils of Vermont and New York, and have attended residencies at art colonies in central and eastern Europe for nearly two decades.
For the past twenty years I have divided my time between Europe and Vermont, working and exhibiting in both places, with many of my works in national and international collections.
Although it’s been two years and counting since I was last in Budapest, the city remains the dwelling place of my soul and a source of aesthetic and intellectual nourishment. Many twentieth century artists discovered themselves in the major cities of Europe and serendipitously, so did I.
My work traverses broad contexts – not only of geographies and cultures but of artistic boundaries of media, process and genre – developing a personal visual language with which to comment, define and respond to world events and realities.– Diane Sophrin Vermont