Diane AbtBerkeley, CA
Art making provides the prism to clarify what’s important to me, the means to deepen my understanding of the world and the opportunity to reveal something new and relevant. In the words of Paul Klee, "Art renders visible the invisible."
My seven-year sojourn in Japan, especially studying calligraphy, fueled my appreciation of the elegance of understatement, as well as the beauty and power of emptiness. My 35-year career as a journalist also shapes my work. Story telling remains important to me, though my tools have changed.
I make abstract monotypes, often with a political edge. I also create East Asian calligraphy, both traditional characters as well as gestural images. I combine the layered translucency of the multi-drop printed painting with photo transfer, collage and calligraphy
My monotypes usually begin with a Plexiglas plate and oil-based inks to create color and texture. Then I might add images from newspapers and magazines, using a variety of transfer techniques to incorporate them in my work. Finally, using graphite, colored pencils, paint, or pastels, I draw images into the artwork -- images that emerge from the texture of the monotype itself. What I see reflects what I’ve been thinking about. This combination of materials, process, analysis and projection enables me to merge intellect and intuition.
I grew up in Chicago, which nourished in me a certain grittiness and no-nonsense approach to life. However, living in Japan for seven years, and especially studying calligraphy, also profoundly influenced me. And, so did working more than 30 years as a reporter and editor. I've been working professionally as an artist since 2003, though art making has always been an essential part of my life.
Workshops with various artists, including Enrique Chagoya, Jane Hammond, Jamie Brunson, Jane Rosen, Orit Hofshi and Emily York have been crucial in improving my techniques in printmaking, painting and drawing. I have continued to study calligraphy in California with Zen artist, Kazuaki Tanahashi.
My work has been shown in galleries nationally and is included in private collections across the country. In 2012, four of my pieces were included in a group show juried by Franklin Sirmans, curator of contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Art Museum, and two others were part of an exhibit curated by gallerist Donna Seager. The 2013 edition of American Art Collector, a juried competition of new work, includes my artwork.