Diana Terry Greater Manchester, United Kingdom
My paintings and collographic prints are about the landscape. They consider the narrative between humanity and the environment by recording the impact of industry in my area. This includes historic quarries. I use textured mark to build up rich layers of materials, including using gesso, collage and inks which I develop into larger works
What I love about painting is that it embodies a series of thought and emotions. It's all there on the canvas as a record. I can add and remove paint at will. It doesn’t matter about my mood because its all useful. I tend to improvise what I do on the canvas. I have a vague roadmap in mind, but usually have to abandon it pretty sharpish.
I use canvas on wooden stretchers, prepared with a couple of coats of acrylic primer. I then paint the canvas a flat colour in acrylic paint. Acrylic is a good base for oil colours. It provides an even, unabsorbent surface, whereas oils absorb other oils at different rates. I use oil paint for all the brushstrokes and drawing - this is because oil paint is so flexible that I can adjust what I'm doing almost endlessly.
Oil paint is the most fantastically malleable substance like clay, oil paint remains wet long enough for endless changes of mind, and because of the way the pigment is held in the oil, it is beautifully luminescent. Clay and oil paint have chunky, buttery qualities so I can use similar skills with the palette knife in both materials.
I also use etching which is a very tactile medium relying as it does on mark making and acid etching. I use the process very freely discovering an excitement in the printing that compliments the vagaries of the clay and paint. It also connects me to previous artists that have used strong light and dense blacks to great effect.
Source imagery is literally on my doorstep, but I’m still hooked on Victorian landscape traditions especially Paterson’s and William Stott’s use of paint to describe weather with their scale, dramatic use of light and shade. I like to use these to tell the narrative of the moors throughout the seasons including the recent wildfires.
At my studio I keep books, catalogues and magazines about art, architecture and design, such as Architecture Record and Art&Design an out-of-print interiors magazines, and an exhibition catalogue catalogue for Modern Houses in England by Maxwell Fry, British early modernist architect.
brutalist buildings sit alongside books about Expressionist painters Anselm Keifer, Lee Krasner, even Freidrich. They are surrounded by collections of human beings represented as masks, mystics and fertility icons. Alongside on my shelves are collections of Jewelery and associated catalogues.
Nordic Noir television programmes and Chinese contemporary art seem unlikely combinations but I found that when studying landscape traditions at my residency at the Paper Gallery, Manchester that there was a common theme. Artists like Wu Chi Tsug explored the textures of mountain terrains the flow of rivers and waters or celebrating the quiet beauty found in nature. I am fortunate enough to be able to access the University of Salford collection and that of the CFCCA in Manchester.
The way I make paintings reflects the way I experience the world, and what I'm like as a person. I think this is inevitable. I have never wanted to limit myself to one or two kinds of mark-making - I find it exciting and challenging to find different ways of using paint, both by looking at art history, and through the process of using paint itself. I value this versatility.
My paintings have a fictional space, an invented abstract space that holds all the contents together - but I think that anything can go into that space, from heartfelt expressive marks to deliberately fashioned self-conscious brushstrokes to intensely rendered rock surfaces. The textures are akin to maintain precipices, cliffs and quarries.
Just because I'm able to do lots of different things in paint it doesn't mean I don't mean it. The paintings are not simply an exercise in cool irony, they're a sincere attempt to make sense of the world and the joy and despair I feel at being alive. I want to reinterpret the imaginary landscapes of our ancestors. I want to make paintings that are surprise, excite and engage and that have something new to add to the history of painting.
Diana Terry January 2020
Projects and exhibitions
Wirral Society of Art
Regular exhibitions as a member of WSA.
|The Williamson, Birkenhead, Merseyside, Wirral, Merseyside||Details|
Royal Society of British Artists
21/01/2018 — 31/01/2018
Open Call to be exhibited with the members of RSBA.
|Mall Galleries, London||Details|
01/08/2016 — 18/08/2019
My work was bought by the gallery for their permanent collection.
|Gallery Oldham, Oldham||Details|