“In my work I aim for a place between discord and tranquility, for the spot with a charged harmony that energizes while also providing refuge. To reach that goal I play one formal element against another to create some friction or conflict within a generally contemplative piece.
The material in front of me—found or repurposed papers, cloth, pieces of wood—influences my direction, as does inspiration from the world outside the studio: a wall, a landscape, a play of shadow.
When the work transmits to me a calm energized by tension, then it is done. Occasionally that happens the same day, or weeks or months later, sometimes never; and then maybe its remnants become a source of inspiration for the next piece.” — DE
A native of New York City, Englander was brought up going to galleries and museums, a sometimes reluctant attendant to her parents’ passion for looking and collecting.
Before beginning to make art herself, she worked as a lawyer for several years and then as a management consultant to local nonprofits concerned with poverty or disenfranchisement.
In late 2006, Englander began making collages that started her on her current path. She studied with Bruce Dorfman at the Art Students League in New York and in 2012 attended the Vermont Studio Center with an artist’s grant. In 2013 she won the Allied Artists of America award at the Butler Institute of American Art. She currently maintains studios in New York City and Southampton, NY.
Englander has had solo exhibits at the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery at U.Conn-Avery Point; Hampden Gallery at U. Mass., Amherst; the Grubbs Gallery in Easthampton, MA; and at the Living Room Gallery at Saint Peter’s Church in Manhattan. She has exhibited in group shows across the United States and in Italy.
rotating exhibit of current & recently sold work
DIANE ENGLANDER speaks to folioeast’s COCO MYERS
CM/ DO YOU WORK ON PAPER OR CANVAS OR BOTH? WITH WHAT MATERIALS?
DE/ I work on canvas, on paper, and with wood and cardboard, using acrylic, pencil, ink. I look around my studio and pick up the material that at that moment seems most promising. Often I work from the piece of wood or paper or cardboard just as I find it, perhaps shaped by having been cut or torn from a larger piece. Sometimes I tear or cut almost randomly, and work from that. I am almost always working in different media at the same time, moving from one piece to another.
CM/HOW DO YOU BEGIN A COMPOSITION?
DE/ The color is the first decision with a canvas, because almost all of my canvases have a single background color. And that choice is intuitive. I look at the tubes of paint and go with my instinct. A lot of the real joy I find in making art springs from discovering inspiration serendipitously. The other day I found in my bin of wood odds and ends two small rectangles of wood glued together, painted, gouged . . . but unappealing. I hurled the pairing at the floor of my studio to break it apart, and then was practically chortling with pleasure at the possibilities offered by these two damaged pieces of wood.
CM/WHY DO YOU WORK ON A SMALL SCALE ?
DE/ I started out working small because I was working at a folding table at the Art Students League. Then I realized I enjoyed making objects that felt much larger than their dimensions. I hope for a sense of monumentality even in small pieces.
CM/ HOW DOES THIS AREA INFLUENCE OR INFILTRATE YOUR WORK?
DE/ At the best moments here, with a perfect view of trees in that evening light, or of shadows on the sand, or the feeling of salt water on my skin, I get a sense of calm and of energy that is exactly what I try to transmit through my work.
CM/ WHERE DO YOU DO YOUR WORK?
DE/ Our house has a little sunroom that we couldn't figure out how to use, until I finally made it my studio. It's small but it works. It's all windows, surrounded by greenery, and has a small couch where I can read.
CM/ IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ANYTHING, IS THERE ANY PARTICULAR EE ARTIST OR PIECE THAT YOU WOULD LOVE TO HAVE?
DE/ I would love an Esteban Vicente!