Monday, October 8, 2012

Interview: Diane Rudnick Mann

Diane Rudnick Mann
Stacked Crayons (detail)
Pastel  25 x 32 inches
How do you decide on the objects that are the subject matter for your work? 

Only on a few occasions have I looked for something specific to paint. It seems objects are everywhere-super markets, things on shelves in my house, magazines, flea markets and in dangerous places such as my refrigerator. They are unexpected things that sing to me. Some work out and some don’t which unfortunately are the ones I spend the most time on. I have a hard time giving up on a painting. Because I work in pastel, there is a limit to how much I can work on a painting. Pastel is usually done on sanded paper and it can only hold so many layers so overworking is not possible which is a good thing in my case.

What attracts you to the object? 

Sometimes the attraction is how difficult it will be to paint. I love color, which is obvious in my work, but it isn’t what attracts me. The challenge is what excites (and terrifies) me. With my work, it either looks like the real object or it doesn’t. I can’t do anything with a “doesn’t”. There are days I wish I could loosen up and paint abstracts but I have no idea how to go there. I’m not sure the objects have stories to tell though there have been some items that I wish I knew the history. I have a collection of very old worn children’s shoes. I try to guess what kind of a child wore them. Were they happy, carefree or troubled. I haven’t painted any of them yet because there is a certain sadness I feel looking at them. After looking at something day after day I usually get attached to the objects-their personalities, not their history

Your type of work is very labor intensive. It is easy to carve out time in your schedule to work? 

I find working in such detail almost meditative. Sometimes I can paint for hours without realizing I’ve been standing for 5+ hours. My main occupation is painting so it is always a priority, followed by getting hair color and other necessities. The rest of the time seems to fall in line.

Diane Rudnick Mann
Bowl of Cherries
Pastel  14 x 17 inches

What is it like getting ready for an exhibition-are there any special considerations required to exhibit pastels? 

I think I am one among many who gets very anxious before a show: about the work-is it good enough or will I be humiliated, will I finish on time, will I be able to talk about my work to people coming into the gallery. Will anyone even like it. I love pastels but you have to be committed to work with it. It is extremely messy but the biggest issues for me is framing a pastel. They have to be framed, with spacers to leave room for any pastel dust that may fall down and they have to be framed with glass or plexi. If uncovered, the pastel can be smudged or wiped off. What is so unsettling is leaving the painting at the framer. Will they keep it covered? Will they always keep it right side up, will they leave pastel dust on the painting? I compare it to leaving a child with a stranger who may or may not be thoughtful or careful. I don’t expect “love”- just a little caring.

What satisfies you most about your work?

Finishing it in a way that it looks as I wanted it to look. And obviously, having someone want to hang my work in their home.

Diane Rudnick Mann's exhibition opens October 30, 2012.

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