Dianne Gall's latest exhibition "Noir" is currently on at Beaver Galleries, Canberra.
The Visitor, 2009, Oil on Linen, 111 x 137cm
In The Real Art World interviews Dianne Gall about her exhibition at Beaver Galleries, Canberra
In The Real Art World: What is the Dianne Gall story, how have you and your art arrived at this point?
Dianne Gall: I have very early memories of drawing, being an only child and living in relative isolation it was a happy desire to have and it filled my early days with joy. My father had a Super 8 camera and documented me as a six year old standing drawing at the blackboard easel on the open back veranda. I was dressed in my favourite frock, with plastic jewellery and I have the most vivid memory of that day. I was drawing a person and I started from the feet up and when I got to the head I also moved around the back of the blackboard to draw the back of the head, because I knew people had a back too. It is the funniest footage, but it was very logical to me at the time.
After leaving art school, I joined an artist’s cooperative studio and continued to paint, I have always done other work to support my art and it together with life’s dramas have sometimes got in the way but I’ve always managed to have a driving passion to paint and draw, if I don’t create, I feel lost and incomplete.
Hotel, 2009, Oil on Linen, 111 x 137cm
In The Real Art World: Your "Noir" series of paintings seem to be a dramatic change from your previous art, but for those who look carefully, there are many elements that are part of a continuum of your artistic concerns. What brought this change about and how do you see this new work as being connected to the art of your past?
Dianne Gall: This new work continues to look at things from the feminine point of view and concerns. I have always looked at ways of describing the fragility of life, the beauty in the things that surround us and contribute to our memory picture of people and places. This new series move more directly towards the interactions in people's lives and less on the secret life of objects. I've personally been through a very tough and emotional 12 months, and I have friends whom been very sick and some will not make it. This series of paintings are a snapshot of being human, a voyeuristic representation of journeys through life.
Home, 2009, Oil on Linen, 61 x 71cm
In The Real Art World: Film Noir embodies an image of sordid melodramas where the protagonists are jaded, ambivalent, and cruel. The visual style emphasizes low-key lighting and stark cinematographic compositions. Your paintings are not narratives, but isolated enigmatic fragments where the viewer is drawn in to imagine and construct their own story of what's going on? Is that a fair assessment of your aims?
Dianne Gall: I think everyone has their own drama, their own reality, it is for some the everyday, coping with very challenging circumstances, be they of love, family relationships, abuse, or financial strains. It is unknown what really goes on behind closed doors, so I hope that these paintings will find a way into people’s psyche, allowing them to quietly think about their own circumstances, reflect, relate to, or to let their imagination run free.
Life is raw, it’s tough, the lighting of Film Noir, give these elements the importance they deserve, they allude to the hidden world.
Troubled Beauty, 2009, Oil on Linen, 30.5 x 35.5cm
In The Real Art World: The images used to make these paintings are taken from old movies, do you deliberately obscure the source, alter the image and create paintings that are a composite of scenes?
Dianne Gall: I use old movies as a starting source for my paintings. A movie is somebody else’s construct, I need to then make it my own, so I take elements from a movie, add something of my own, combine it with a photograph I may have taken at a location and get to an image that describes what I want to say.
Noir, 2009, Oil on Linen, 30.5 x 35.5cm
In The Real Art World: How do you go about finding the subjects for your paintings and what do you really look for when assessing it’s potential to make it as a painting?
Dianne Gall: I want these paintings to have a tension in them, a strain between subjects, this is achieved by lighting, the placement of figures, allowing the objects anchor the scene. I want the people to have a sense history between them, it might be short or long term it doesn’t really matter, it just has to be intimate not necessarily sexual but just that there is a sense of journey taken and experienced together.
The emphasis is on the woman's story, its from her point of view, the image revolves around her. This governs the sorts of females I want to portray, appearing very feminine, desirable and in control. So I guess the Male has to have a strength about him, usually he's placed lurking in the background.
Interior, 2009, Oil on Linen, 30.5 x 35.5cm
In The Real Art World: Tell me about your working process, how does an idea becomes a finished painting?
Dianne Gall: I collect images in my head, I collect magazines clippings and images I see when I’m out, watching people interact. I form little scenarios and also I take photos of movies of the television screen, keeping it's imperfections.
Images will resonate with me, they have something worthwhile to say, I try and stand back from them and this where the long time to think comes in, so that I have something that will have strength of meaning. I often paint in my head, getting a feel for what sort of brush marks I’ll use, how I’ll describe the fabric, the hair, what will I do with the blank space etc. So I approach the easel and my gridded blank canvas and draw with paint onto the surface. I work up the surface in thin layers, glazing and rendering here and there, sometimes I like to leave the ground I’ve put down to remind the viewer it’s a painting and not a photograph.
The two paintings below were exhibited at the same time as "Noir", but in another exhibition titled "Little Pictures" at Charles Nodrum Gallery , Melbourne.
Misadventure, 2009, Oil on Linen, 30.5 x 35.5cm
In The Real Art World: Who are the artists that at the moment you are looking at, or find their work resonates for you?
Dianne Gall: I am not specifically influenced by any one artist at the moment, more I like the technique of Veronese or Lucian Freud and I have the realist images of Gottfried Helnwein in my head. I keep little bits of paintings in my head, like the depths Rembrandt achieved in his dark paintings, the complexity that you can only see when standing in front of one. I still hark back to my favourite Manet, or David painting, they all fill my head and I take little bits from each one.
Running Man, 2009, Oil on Linen, 30.5 x 35.5cm
In The Real Art World: Finally, what's next?
Dianne Gall: I’ve only just started painting these works after many, many months of thinking about them and how to get the feeling I want onto the canvas. I want to gain more subtlety in the work, introduce more complexity in the painted surface and down the track set up my own film noir sets and create grand and large paintings. I am in my forties now and it is time to finally discard the parochialism and think of the big picture, if or how I will be seen in the history books, what work will define me as an artist.
To find out more about Dianne Gall and her art visit her ongoing blog by clicking this LINK
NOTE: Despite my strong belief that Dianne's art warrants inclusion in this blog on it's own merits, I must make the readers aware of a conflict of interest. Dianne is my partner in life and I state it openly here to avoid any accusation of deception.