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Creative Process at Biddington's

Diane Churchill painting Balancer

Expressionist Painter

CREATIVE PROCESS visits the Nyack, New York studio of contemporary expressionist painter Diane Churchill.

Editor's Note: Diane Churchill's 2005 (Donnell Library, NYC) and 2003 (Interchurch Center, NYC) exhibitions entitled "The Shimmering World" saw this artist expanding the calligraphic and textural themes from her 2002 SoHo 20 exhibition. The later paintings show an evolution in the artist's work away from the specifically figurative toward more abstract and symbolic imagery--as well as a joyous exploration of metallic colors and silken textures. The body of this interview was conducted in 1999 when this process was just beginning. The images shown here include works from 1996-2007.

Diane Churchill
Acrylic & Metallic Paint on Canvas, 2006

Diane Churchill  painting

Diane Churchill: My explorations of the figure mark major stations in the life of a woman. These are situations of struggle and of ecstasy.

Diane Churchill
"Some Sort of Struggle"
Acrylic & Charcoal on Canvas, 1998

"In her search for representations of women as evolving from places of fear to positions of strength and power, Churchill is constantly exploring new ways of perception."--Louise Weinberg, Curator

Diane Churchill painting

Diane Churchill: For a long time, I had drawn women in introverted postures; when I finally got a woman on her feet, it was very exciting. My figurative work is now about ecstasy and freedom.

Diane Churchill
There was also a decline of confidence in the body..." (left)
Acrylic on Canvas, 1997

Diane Churchill: I studied art history as well as studio art; I often appropriate images from other eras and cultures and use them in my paintings. The crow image carries with it a symbolic significance in certain cultures as a spiritual symbol of consciousness and awareness and as a shape-changer. In my work, the crow is all-knowing.

Diane Churchill painting
Diane Churchill
Oh Sister
Acrylic on Canvas, 1996

Diane Churchill: Traveling to Istanbul was an important experience for me. In Turkey, I had the sense of reaching through centuries into an ancient world of matriarchal cultures rich with goddess images. "Oh Sister" came about as a direct result of the trip. Nut , the sky goddess image in this painting, is a mythological figure who arches her body over the earth.

Diane Churchill mermaid image
Diane Churchill: The twin-tailed mermaid is an image I found in a Romanesque church. I like to bring realism and abstraction together.

Diane Churchill
Acrylic & Metallic Paint on Paper, 1999

Diane Churchill mermaid image as abstractions

Diane Churchill: Depending how I choose to use it, this symbol can work as a subject or as an abstract pattern as it does in this painting.

Diane Churchill
Medallions (right)
Acrylic & Metallic Paint on Canvas, 1999

"Her (Diane Churchill's) red is not just passionate but visceral, and her twin-tailed glyph-filled paintings are as strange and frangible as the maximal Indian tantric meditations. There is a devotion to a dream of art in these committed narratives. Though they are symbolist, there is no retreat from the optical: they must be scrutinized in detail."--David Shapiro, poet & art critic in the exhibition notes for Paintings: Redness and Myth

Diane Churchill painting Tepoztlán

Diane Churchill: My work often combines multiple perceptions--like being close to something and far away at the same time. It is the way you experience images when you are in motion.

Diane Churchill
Acrylic on Canvas, 2007

Diane Churchill painting on paper Hush

Diane Churchill: You can see that I draw heavily from a wide range of art historical and literary references. Matisse has always been my hero--his loose drawings are so evocative and so precise. Also, I appreciate Matisse's sensual approach to life. I also like to look at Richard Diebenkorn's work--I like his layering and his use of color.

Diane Churchill
Acrylic & Metallic
Paints on Paper, 2006

Diane Churchill  painting on paper red/gold3

Diane Churchill: Language is our atmosphere; I use it as an essential ingredient in my compositions. Words may be embedded as images or appear as commentary on the painting. Alphabets such a Sanscrit, Arabic, Thai and Hebrew appear as fragments, but they do not refer to any known sign. The marks are meant to suggest. They are also meant to embody movement.

Diane Churchill
"Red & Gold #3"
Acrylic & Metallic Paint on Paper, 2001-2002

Diane Churchill: I layer cultural history of borrowed images and language with my own cultural and personal memories. My paintings are specific to my experience as a woman and--at the same time--universal to the experience of all women.

Diane Churchill painter

Diane Churchill in Her Studio

View Diane Churchill's works currently offered for sale
Price Range: $600-$3000

Diane Churchill is represented in important public collections including:

Chase Manhattan Bank
Geraldine Dodge Foundation
Grolier Publications
Bellevue Hospital
Hambidge Foundation
Reliance Groups, Inc.

Diane Churchill recent exhibition, publications history & honors:
(abbreviated list)

New York Public Library, Donnell Branch, 2005
Art in the Embassies, Belgrade, 2004-2007
Edward Hopper House, Nyack, NY, 2004
Interchurch Center, Treasure Room Gallery, NYC 2003 (solo)
SoHo 20, NYC 2001, 2002 (solo)
Gallery 93, South Nyack, NY 1998 (solo)
Gallery 107, Brooklyn, NY 1994 (solo)
California State University, San Luis Obispo (solo), 1993
Johnson & Johnson World Headquarters, Princeton, NJ, 1990 (solo)
SoHo 20 Gallery, NYC 1996, 1980, 1978, 1976(solo)
"Salute to Women", National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, 1991
AIR Gallery Small Works Show, 1983-1988
"New York Times" Reviews February 17, 1991, November 16, 1986, February 8, 1981
Karolyi Foundation, Vence, France, residency, 1997
Fellowship Grant, NY State Council on the Arts, 1986, 1980
Yaddo, 1968


CREATIVE PROCESS at Biddington's is designed as a forum for watching art in the making. Usually, this process happens in the privacy of the artist's studio. At BIDDINGTON'S Contemporary Art Gallery, we find it interesting to witness the steps leading to the end product and to hear the artists speak about their work in the relaxed surroundings of their own studios.

Contact Biddington's

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Todd Bellanca Abstract Painter
Carol Bruns Bronze Figurative Sculptor
James Burnett Non-Objective Painter
Cynthia Capriata Peruvian Painter & Printmaker
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Diane Churchill Expressionist Painter
John Clem Clarke Pop Artist
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LA Hughes Pop Artist
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Babette Katz Narrative Printmaker and Book Artist
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Richard Mock Abstract Painter & Linocut Printmaker
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Gary Slipper Fantasy Painter
Margaret Speer Landscape & Travel Paintings
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Rein Triefeldt Kinetic Sculpture
Vivian Tsao Painter of Light
Nancy Van Deren Contemporary Painter
Joan Berg Victor Drawings from Nature
Edward Walsh Figurative Sculpture in Bronze, Marble & Steel
Kate Wattson Contemporary Colorist Painter
Betty Winkler Organic Minimalist Painter & Printmaker

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