Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Nirjhara, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches, © 2010 Diane McGregor (Private Collection, Tucson, AZ)

October Moon

Moving through transitory banks of ice
through the closing hues of night,
commanding stars to glitter;
dawn to blush.
A glow that used to emanate
from clear and lucid eyes.
But here! We are, fifty years later, shadowed in emotion.
Tasting the cool night air together.
We have collided,
against our own eternal epiphany:
I am at the beginning of life
and at its end.
Like a reflection of waves
peering back through life's skeletons
that stretch past all horizons
and sensing the words of the Great Mother
And I see the constant light of purity
In the darkness of the earth ~ at night

-- Tom Sheldon--

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Toward a Romantic Minimalism

Romanticism is precisely situated neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in the way of feeling. - Baudelaire

Sutra, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches, © 2010 Diane McGregor

As I've developed my work over the past couple of years, going from very smoothly blended and luminous imagery to more textured, painterly surfaces and a focus on the underlying structure of the grid, I have sought to clarify exactly what kind of "ism" my work might fall into. My current paintings are minimalist in concept (the grid, repetition, non-objective), yet quite painterly and romantic in execution. Romanticism in visual art emphasized the new prominence of the brushstroke and impasto, the artist's free handling of paint, expressiveness of mood and color, intuition and emotion. Lyrical or painterly abstraction was introduced as a response to minimal art and the rigorous formalism of Judd -- the artist's touch is always visible in this type of painting. In 1967, The Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia curated a show entitled, "A Romantic Minimalism," which included work by Brice Marden, Carl Andre, and Ralph Humphrey. These decidedly "minimalist" artists never abandoned the surface quality of the object. Brice Marden discusses this in a wonderful interview in Tate Etc (see, especially Marden's discussion of Rothko's work). Minimalism was a reaction against the painterly focus of Abstract Expressionism, but some of the "minimalist" artists working in the 60s and 70s never abandoned the presence of the artist's touch.

So I have been thinking of my work in terms of Romantic Minimalism - I use the grid, repetition, a limited palette, and no specific references to nature. However, the painting seduces with it's complex woven textures and mysterious layers of color, and I am thoroughly engaged by the gesture and quality of the individual brushstroke and its emotive and contemplative content.