Recent Review by Ann Landi
Open Studios: Part Two
by Ann Landi | Jun 19, 2017 | Features | 10 comments
Make it a social event
A corner of her house during Diane Sanborn’s “home show”
“I went through a depressing period when I thought I was all alone in my part of the world,” says Diane Di Bernardino Sanborn, who lives in Scottsdale, AZ, and makes largely abstract work. “There are very few galleries in my area for contemporary art. Rather than sit around and grouse about it, I decided to do something.”
Her solution is an annual “home show,” where she opens up her premises for two days each year and sends out about 200 formal invitations, via snail mail, including a short description of what she’s been up to in the past year. For instance, in her latest series, “Calm,” Sanborn told potential visitors that she had dedicated the work to “a sense of peace and quiet”— her response to the tumultuous year in politics. And she carefully labeled the show “contemporary art”—“that rules out the Southwest thing,” she says.
Over time the “home salon” has proved to be not only an anticipated gathering among her followers, but a sales success as well. “I sold nine paintings, and I have two more sales pending,” she says of an event held in late April.
THE NEW ABSTRACTIONISTS PART IX Walter Wickiser Gallery NEW YORK, 2016-17
Diane Di Bernardino Sanborn
The paintings of Diane Di Bernardino Sanborn are like messages from another
universe. Playful, mysterious and endlessly amusing, they make us smile, contemplate, then smile again. We feel we have been let in on secrets that can’t be reduced to words.
Color is Sanborn’s idiom, and her palette is wide-ranging. One work is aqua and viridian, another ocher and umber, yet another vermillion and gold. Within these beds of color, lines, shapes and symbols unfurl like strands of DNA, according to a logic of their own. As viewers, we can scrutinize the chains of triangles, ovals and trapezoids and puzzle over their meanings. Are they hieroglyphs or pictographs from the unconscious? We may wonder, but the wiser path is to abandon theory and experience the visual.
In Kites and Lanterns, orange, blue and chartreuse diamonds pull our eyes merrily around the canvas, as if traversing a fairgrounds. The colors are vibrant but not hard-edged and the softness with which pale blues melt into vegetal greens suggests a natural landscape. The rounded, golden forms in Polite Conversation, which are as voluptuous as naked bodies, also seem to have emerged from the natural world, as do the lavender, cobalt and yellow shapes sprouting amidst the green in Land of Hopes and Dreams.
As the titles of these works suggest, Sanborn’s images may hail from another universe, but it’s one that runs parallel to our own. In this, she has something in common with those two Modernist granddaddies of the whimsical, Joan Miró and Paul Klee. In her washes of gorgeous color and serpentine lines, we discern a dreamscape that feels uncannily familiar and strange at the same time. It’s as if these apparently abstract works reveal things we have always known, even as they challenge us to recognize them.
“A line comes into being … it goes for a walk, aimlessly, for the sake of the walk,” Klee, once observed. He was describing the act of drawing, as a child might experience it. In this way, he captured the adventurous essence of art. In Sanborn’s paintings, we find a healthy dose of that meandering spirit—an eagerness to follow wherever line and color may lead.
Her sensuous explorations are supported by a subtle color sense and a technical mastery of her materials so assured as to go unnoticed. Sometimes the walker doubles back. And occasionally in the pentimento, we can glimpse evidence of an earlier pass. These ghostlike remnants bleeding through add another numinous dimension to the canvases. “Art,” said Klee, “does not reproduce the visible. Rather, it makes visible.” So it is with Sanborn’s paintings, which reveal to us a reality we would have never seen without them.
TEXAS - Sanborn’s abstract monoprint, entitled Identity Theft, was one of 29 selected from almost 300 entries for the 28th annual international exhibition at the University of Texas Tyler’s Meadows Gallery! Staged January 17th through February 8th, the show’s juror was Wade Wilson of the Wade Wilson Art Galleries in Houston and Santa Fe.
"It was an honor to be chosen. Encountering jurors the caliber of Wade Wilson is one of the benefits of seeking out these academic exhibitions,” stresses Sanborn. An art critic who has published more than 300 articles in international publications, Wilson is credited with establishing Art League Houston as a leading force in the cultural community while serving as the league’s executive director.
Sanborn’s artwork will also be featured at the “Crossroads” exhibit at Eastern Kentucky University’s Giles Gallery slated for Jan. 31 - Feb. 22. “Of the many approaches to the ’Crossroads’ theme, the underlying factor is the high quality of the work,” points out Gallery Director, Esther Randall.