Rhythm, Repetition and Verse, Recent Prints, Drawings, and Artist’s Books by Diane Fine
Plattsburgh State Art Museum Home Page Mia Sorella, Dove Sei?, drypoint and monotype, 9 x 36 inches, 2006
Mia Sorella, Dove Sei?, drypoint and monotype, 9 x 36 inches, 2006

Diane Fine’s pictures – those that she makes collaboratively and those that she makes in solitude – embrace grief as well as gladness, ambiguity as well as clarity, mystery as well as certainty -- reflecting the disequilibrium that fills our lives. Indeed, in these images she deliberately includes tensions created by the opposites, dichotomies, and asymmetries of existence: earth and sky, loss and healing, the ephemeral and the lasting, the profane and the sacred. Together with confronting the raggedness of heartache, Fine celebrates the refined, delicate lines, the eloquent details, the subtle and brilliant hues that she interweaves to evoke woe, as in the artist book, Offering, made with Mario Laplante. In an image such as Blossoms, she considers specific objects, suspended during a moment of their lifecycle, to be transformed by time, and perhaps renewed; in another, such as Japan, 2, she ponders the timelessness of universal truths. Finally, as in Translation, Oliver 1, made with Pati Scobey, she immerses herself in wonder and discovers sources of comfort. Ultimately, even having descended to spiritual depths, she asserts, as did the photographer Ralph Steiner, “in spite of everything, yes!” [3] Indeed, as the Hebrew “Mourners’ Kaddish” directs, in the midst of sorrow and anguished questioning, through her images she prevails over mortal grief to invoke and glorify the eternal (Japan, 7).

Fine’s potent visual language arises from her keen powers of observation, her high degree of alertness, her intense concentration, and her passionate questioning. She is alive to the sensuousness, the textures, and the rhythms of living things (Translation, Neruda 8). Celebrating the intricate features of the natural world, she renders the tangible and immediate with colors that sometimes stimulate (Translation, Neruda 1), sometimes elate, (Translation, Oliver 3, left side, by Diane Fine) sometimes soothe (Translation, Oliver 3, right side, by Pati Scobey), often surprise. A plant rendered in black, for instance, presents associative dichotomies, evoking possible reactions not connected with a green, growing thing. To accentuate a sense of timelessness in images like Fern, for instance, Fine places her iconic forms against backgrounds of even, shadowless light, where they assume the gravity of emblems, of banners. Without the suggestion of atmosphere, the passage of time, or earthly perspective, her subjects, in spite of the grip of their immediacy, often seem to exist in the realms of imagination, dream, or memory.

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