January 24th, 2009

Grandma explaining her art work to Grace

Last night, diffusion, a show featuring works by Katherine, Molly, Robert and Eric, opened.  It was my granddaughter’s first gallery opening!  Molly’s work, especially the large, organic, abstracted shapes, really fascinated her. She’s showing signs of art appreciation already! Rayden, my two year old grandson, is more of a food critic; the edible arrangement was his favorite work of art. 

The show will be up through January 31, 2009- gallery hours are 1-6pm daily.  It’s a great time to see this exciting new gallery space and to check out the work of some of DiBella’s individula study students.  Katherine

My painting, often distinctly sculptural in nature, poses questions related to the understanding of self. Its focus is on identity through continual exploration of scale, materials and format. Often niches, windows, or doors create rarefied spaces for the self portraits. The use of gold leaf echoes tradition; I employ precious materials as a reference to the sacred with an emphasis on spiritual transitioning between successive planes of existence, heaven, and earth. The portrait, silhouette, or hand makes a statement about changing identity, the search for self, or a desire for anonymity.


The often dissembled and distorted forms of both my paintings and drawings are set directly on wall surfaces. The large-scaled, abstracted, and curvaceous images are not cradled by a stationary horizon line nor positioned within the confines of a picture plane. Although greatly influenced by disturbing visceral concepts, my work pulls more from the disregarded, and beautiful, aspects of the grotesque; it is a visual translation of my own intrigue of raw form. However, while the work draws from organic, abstracted shapes, the paintings and drawings often reference femininity, whether through form or symbolism; many of the works are a painted critique of the traditional female nude. Vivid hues of red and pink are used to further emphasize the traditional expectations surrounding women. The art dissects the body, constantly attacking formulated ideas of both inner and outer beauty, and constantly redeveloping and re-evaluating the overlooked and disregarded.


My paintings are experiments in the collision of mutually exclusive ideas. I pair the precious and the disposable, the authentic with the illusion, the esteemed with the dismissed and the informed with the moronic. I paint in a messy barn with a dirt floor, not a pristine studio, and so I pursue these “experiments” less with the detached professionalism of the scientist and more with the cockeyed enthusiasm of the eight year old boy who asks “If we stick these together, is it going to explode?”

I find the structure of the comic strip particularly suited to this task—after all, cartoons are a less-than-serious attempt to organize sound, thought, words and images. Upon being dashed off by the lowly cartoonist, these drawings are reproduced millions of times, delivered at doorsteps and then thrown out within a day or two. Toss a sabot into the gears, remove any of those elements—the words, the images, the chronology, the reproduction and distribution—and the whole endeavor collapses into a senseless jumble. I seek this jumble, the mess that results when one breaks the structures that keep the incompatible apart—let the chemicals mix, let the animals out of their cages, let matter land in the anti-matter, and see what explodes.


When I was little, I would mend fences and fix farm machinery with my dad. Helping him do these chores taught me to look at things in a practical manner. He showed me what tools one would need and the different things one can create from few materials. Recently, I have paid great attention to the inkjet printer. It interprets information in a process that becomes repetitive abstraction; in its method, a jumpy rhythm unfurls an image. These monotonous rhythms appear in music, TV, and in the fields around my house.

Imitation of my father and of the source material has been a route for both learning and personal invention. I work with the relationships between the past and present, the common and secluded, and how these bodies overlap. Excitement for me comes when a concrete moment changes before my very eyes. Specificity and abstraction wrestle to become taut. My process of repetitive mark making has ties to mowing grass: where small progress through continuous work amounts to a larger result. Laborious repetition is part of the routine from my rural background. This process is mirrored through picking vegetables or chopping wood.

The portrait, for me, intersects the past and present where a common image when isolated, can reveal the specifics of its parts. I connect the work and my ideas through the marks I make. The specificity of the image and the specificity of the marks, create a different connection when they are diffused. I find what we see is largely a bunch of scattered light, but it is the narrative that we carry that gives it form. I emphasize the portrait as a structure so the specifics of color or line inform my work through association.

  1. elizabeth seaver Says:

    Hi. I am local to Fredericksburg and wish to know your location. How do I find your gallery?