CHANGING NOT FADING:
The paintings of Dianne Kaufman
Dianne Kaufman believes in paint. What it can do, physically, washed across or thickly impasted on to canvas, and what it can mean, pushing us beyond the physical into metaphysics and metaphor. Her paintings confound expectation and challenge definition; they are heads without faces, where features shift and vanish under surfaces encrusted with webbed networks of wrinkles like reefs of exotic coral or the exposed lobes of the brain. If these are portraits they are skewed ones; portraits of no-one and that is the point: being of no one person they are, at the same time, portraits of every person – of what rather than who we are – the universal rather than the particular. They are timeless; like the ancient bodies dredged from peat-bogs they emerge from their dark backgrounds squinting into the light of a world they did not see made and could never have imagined.
The paint that simultaneously contains and creates these beings is itself peaty-rich; thickly layered and intricately manipulated it does not merely depict flesh but substitutes for it to give the viewer a visceral experience which is tactile and thought-provoking in equal measure.
“Portraiture of a kind, though more about substance than likeness. The human as accidental, biological, random.”