Sep 22, 2011

PROFILE | Dianna Molzan

Dianna Molzan, Untitled, oil on canvas, 2009
Dianna Molzan creates art unlike many artists, without a subject or central image. She believes in museums because there are many objects that are equalized. The images the viewer sees, whether they are historical or cultural, are represented during the present moment. Molzan explains, “…in a single afternoon, and under one roof, you can see a pre-Columbian clay pot, a panel of Victorian lace, an El Greco painting, and a Claes Oldenburg soft sculpture––so it does not seem that odd to me to kind of re-create that viewing experience within a group of paintings.” She creates art as the observer would view many styles at once during their daily life.

Her paintings have been variously compared to Piet Mondrian’s gridded paintings as well as Jackson Pollock’s Abstract Expressionist brushwork. Subsequently, like her predecessors before her, she is interested in color, line work, and how it interacts with the canvas. Along with painting and dealing with how the material lays on the canvas, she also creates three-dimensional forms by cutting or altering the canvases.

“In my mind I am not deconstructing painting; instead I am exploring and maximizing everything up for grabs inherent to it. More than anything else, I feel like an enthusiast.”
Once she has finessed her paintings, she then alters the canvas in a geometric manner to next expose the structure of her work. She juxtaposes the free, colorful splatter-like painting to the hard-edged, gridded, geometrical frame that contains her work.

Dianna Molzan, Untitled, oil on canvas, 2009
Unlike her vibrant splash of color paintings, she works with canvases in nontraditional ways. In her work above she simply paints a thin tan line across the canvas and then juxtaposes the line with a cut diagonal. The work gives the viewer a look into the structure of the painting as well as these two diagonals interacting with one another. By using only canvases, let's say to create netting, it allows for anything within painting to be created or produced the appearance of, so it gives people the inspiration when they see canvas to not stop at only painting the surface. These paintings seem contradictory of each other; as one focuses on the freedom of the brush and color, the other is geometric and grid-like. Although the underlining meaning is the same, Molzan exposes the configuration of the framework within her paintings. It is as if she is giving the viewer a beautiful, yet disguised, artwork in which the medium is questioned, and the viewer requests to see it on “How It Was Made.”

Dianna Molzan, Untitled, oil on canvas, 2009
All of Molzan’s artwork has its own character, and all are unique in their own way. One cannot say Molzan’s artwork is mass-produced because she personally gestures each one differently. She considers no hierarchy from one artwork to the next, but an idiosyncratic influence that may change day to day. She does not title her work because as the viewer moves through the world and comes upon something undeniable, it is not presented with a caption or title. The viewers’ understanding is what makes sense of the event. Her focus on fine art and historical conventions of painting is what creates the interest into her artwork, as not only being abstract, but also having a history of dated technique.

-Jennifer Perry


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