Rhythm, Repetition and Verse, Recent Prints, Drawings, and Artist’s Books by Diane Fine
Plattsburgh State Art Museum Home Page
Translation, Neruda, No. 8, mixed media, 12.5 x 10.5 inches, 2007 Translation, Neruda, No. 8, mixed media, 12.5x10.5 inches, 2007 The impact of Fern derives from the complex interplay of two-dimensional image and three-dimensional subject. The image’s ornamental, almost heraldic quality is combined with the subtle sense of movement inseparable from the experience of a living fern, with its elegant shape and swaying motion. The effect of such an image depends on numerous artistic decisions. Fine omits botanical details in favor of large, strong patterns and a limited color range, at the same time evoking the living plant by extending the bottom of the image below the picture plane, thus suggesting the presence of a terrestrial substrate in which the plant is growing. She extends the left side of the image in the same way, encouraging the viewer’s imagination to complete the fern’s shape. The irregular placement and different lengths of the branches and leaflets adds to the picture’s visual interest, as does the expanse of branches and leaves on the bottom left, which is balanced by the curve of the main branch toward the upper right.

Enlivening the image, as well, are the short lines of different lengths in the background, more numerous between some branches and some parts of the composition’s edge than others.

Recognizing the power of metaphor to move us, Fine summons meticulously chosen words from prose or poetry -- some contemplative, some beseeching, some with bold, some with subtle rhythms that the reader silently intones. Coupling such words as “rage” or “blood” from Red; and such phrases as “sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness” from Sow; and “may I be with my mother wearing summer/kimono/By this window in the morning” from Japan, 6, Fine evokes the mundane and invokes the spiritual. As her oeuvre eloquently attests, she heeds the advice of the poet Rilke to “draw near to Nature . . . and seek those [themes] which your own everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, passing thoughts and the belief in some sort of beauty – describe all these with loving, quiet, humble sincerity, and use, to express yourself, the things in your environment, the images from your dreams, and the objects of your memory.”[5] And, as the ultimate gift to us, her viewers, through her image-making and the life from which it stems, she profoundly urges us, as she, herself strives to do, to “be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.”[6]

Carole Slatkin

[1] Homer, the Iliad, VI, 146-150
[2] viz, Lewis Hyde, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, (New York: Vintage Books, 1983)
[3] Ralph Steiner, (Editor), Caroline Steiner, (Editor), In Spite of Everything, Yes!, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1986)
[4] Wallace Stevens, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”, V, The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens (New York: KnopfDoubleday Publishing Group, 1990)
[5] Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, Letter 1, trans. M.D. Herter, rev. ed., (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., Inc., 1954), p. 19
[6] ibid., Letter 4, p. 35

Intro 1 2 3  Previous Page    Page 4    Next Page
Plattsburgh State Art Museum

Academic Art Department
Graphic Element
State University of New York at Plattsburgh

Copyright © 2009, The Plattsburgh State Art Museum.
All rights reserved. Copyright Statement
101 Broad Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Phone: (518) 564-2474

Send comments to: Plattsburgh State Art Museum
Last Updated: August 20, 2009
Website by David Driver and Norman Taber

Top Of Page