I began making large-scale graphite drawings in 2005 when I was pregnant with my second child. Looking down at my temporarily deformed mid-section, I decided that I would try to draw myself. I hung a sheet of paper on the wall, large enough for a life-size figure, and began to draw in pencil from what I could see by looking down at my own body. Right up until the very end of the pregnancy, I produced several larger-than-life drawings that attempt to convey the massive, sculptural presence of the pregnant body, and to reveal how pregnancy feels without sentimental overtones.
Since the birth of my son, I have continued to draw the figure, expanding my repertoire to include portraits of my children and husband as well as self portraits. I now allow myself to work from photographs when necessary, but my focus is still upon reinventing how I see the body through the drawing process. By using pencil and paper almost exclusively, I feel as though I’ve stripped my practice down to the essential in order to convey a maximum of meaning. I use the pencil somewhat like a scalpel, probing the body through line, light and shadow. The drawings may at first appear highly realistic, but a closer look will reveal that the proportions are distorted and that the anatomical details are invented. To a certain extent, working large allows me to “lose control” of the drawing ; not being able to see the whole composition while I’m working on it frees up both the mind and the hand, resulting in distortions that reveal unconscious emotional readings concerning femininity, masculinity, sexuality and aging. In the drawings of my adolescent daughter, either alone or with her friends, I explore awakening sexuality and the transformation of the body. As a mother drawing her daughter, I certainly recognized myself in her and felt re-immersed in my own adolescence. Whether drawing nude couples or clothed teenagers, it’s important that I draw people who are close to me so that emotion can go into and emerge from the work.
Artist Bio / CV
Born in New York in 1967, living and working in France since 1992.
EDUCATION: University of Paris 1, Pantheon-Sorbonne, Paris, France. Studies in art history, doctoral degree completed in 2003. State University of New York at Albany. MA in printmaking, 1992. Bennington College, Vermont. BA in painting and printmaking, 1989.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITS: 2010/Le Double, with Anthony Verot, Maison d'Art Contemporain Chaillioux, Fresnes, France. 2006/Morceaux Choisis, with Veronique Roca, Les Réservoirs exhibition center, Limay, France. 2005/Desseins Animés, with choregrapher Justine Cornu and composer Alexander Levy, Centre International de Séjour de Paris Maurice Ravel, Paris, France. 2004/ L'Arbre Vertébral (The Vertebral Tree), with choreographer Cathleen Andrews, Danse Connexion, Paris, and Cafe de la Danse, Paris. 2002/Vol-Virée-Vertige-Vertèbre, with choreographer Cathleen Andrews, Danse Connexion, Paris. 1998/Rathbone Gallery, the Sage Colleges, Albany, New York. 1998/Galerie La Caserne, Paris. 1997/Vertebral Architecture, Dietel Gallery, Troy, New York.
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITS: 2009/Anatomanie, Espace Saint Louis, Bar-le-Duc, France. 2007/Anatomanie, L'Ecole Buissonnière, Paris. 2005/One Two Trees, L'Ecole Buissonnière, Paris. 2001/Un certain regard sur la nature, Abbatiale, Bernay, France. 2000/Corps Sensation, Albert Chanot exhibition center, Clamart, France. 1999/Premier Festival de Peinture de Saumur, Peristyle of the Molière Theater, Saumur, France. 1999/Salon des Artistes Naturalistes, Jardin des Plantes (Botanical Gardens), Paris.
SOME BIBLIOGRAPHY: Marie Jo Bonnet, Les Femmes dans l'Art, La Martiniere Editions, Paris, 2004, pp. 214-215. Linda K. Ryder, Transcending Strategies: The Prints and Drawings of Diana Quinby, exhibition catalog, Rathbone Gallery, Albany, New York, 1998.