Description of work: A woman with unkempt hair, eyes watery and red from crying tilts her head with her gaze off into a place that does not seem to exist in reality, but an inner dimension that exists in all people. The title Searching through Time suggests she is ruminating caught in a moment of distress. A traditional head and shoulders portrait, painted with soft yellow, green, hints of pink, and red hues further communicate the melancholy mood. It is powerfully emotional, and it seems as though the viewer has walked in on a private moment.
Painted using a painstaking technique of hyperrealism, Marsh reaches far-flung notes of heightened psychological content. Not content with the traditional painting, she considers this a portrait of humanity. Although she uses photographs to construct and guide her, these paintings come to be through the act of painting, and allows for her intuitive and gestural aspects to inform her work.
Artist’s Biography: Diane Marsh grew up Buffalo New York, received a BFA from Daemen College in 1976, and a MFA at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1978. She moved to New York City in the early 1980s where she became influenced by the neo-expressionist scene. Her paintings began to take shape with ideas that were conceptual, photographic, figurative, and expressive with subjects that could be mythical, political, personal or social. Marsh began making expressionist figurative paintings that evolved into a form of heightened, meticulous, realism driven by spiritual concerns that go beyond the self. Her work is known for its hyper-realistic portraits of people caught in a moment of emotional distress, which are expressed in the physiognomy. Marsh believes that this is the point of change, where by facing one’s suffering, one can evolve.
After completing her MFA, she was lured to Roswell New Mexico for the artist–in-residence fellowship. She fell in love with the high desert plains, the small town, and remote quiet, expansive landscape where she met her husband, sculptor Eddie Dominquez and had son. The birth of her son changed her focus and she began to consider the environment and what will be left of the planet to pass on to the next generation. The two have been subjects of many paintings that hold special meaning to relationships with the spiritual underpinnings of connection and love. Marsh and her husband have also co-created work that complements one another in a narrative: a painting of her son embraced in his mother’s arms with a pile of Dominguez’s ceramic “gemstones” called Diane’s Gems placed in front.
Marsh currently resides in New Mexico with her family. Her work is large-scale that takes hundreds of hours to complete. She continues to make work about emotion, using details to show the basic truths about what it is like to be human. She wants her work to have an impact on the viewer, and asks them to look at emotions they may not want to deal with. They are about personal growth, transcendence and mankind’s tenuous connections to nature, each other, and to the self.
Date and dimension: 1990, 30” x 40”
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Accession # and Acquisition Date: 1992.02.11
Provenance and Exhibitions: Selections from the Permanent Collection Summer 2013
Framed or Flat: Framed
Current location: Piece is part of the University Art Gallery’s permanent collections at New Mexico State University.
Marsh, Diane. “Statement.” Diane Marsh Studio. 2016. Accessed November 25, 2016. http://dianemarshstudio.com.
Wolgamott, Kent L. “Unsettling Appearance.” Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program. April 8, 2001. Accessed November 25, 2016. http://www.rair.org/MarshellGallery–Marsh.htm.
Wolgamott, Kent L. “Spiritual, Emotional Powers Resonate Long after Leaving Exhibition.” Reviews and Articles. July 2, 2005. Accessed November 25, 2016. http://dianemarshstudio.com/reviews-articles.
Researched By: Felicia Castro November 20, 2016