Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Poetic Connection: An Interview with Nancy Diessner

September 16 saw the opening of Nancy Diessner's gallery show Sabbatical Work, a series of prints exploring the connection between longing in man and nature. Diessner is faculty member at Chester College of New England, serving as a professor and the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies.

The series was started during Diessner's sabbatical and gradually developed into the series.
During that time she was able to work in studio without the pressures of teaching or business. By her own account Diessner has always worked slowly, especially with printmaking, in which the process isn't rapid. The slow approach, however, allows for a close eye on detail.

In the same way her work demands the viewer spend more time observing it. Sabbatical Work isn't a direct narrative, but that isn't to say the work is without meaning. Diessner described it as "poetic connection" and explained the difference by comparing the reading of poetry to the reading of a newspaper. "Poetry isn't simply about the face value of words," she said, "and oftentimes requires the audience to reread it to reveal different connections and meaning."

The connections in Sabbatical Work are layered as well; in a single frame images are paired, and pairs themselves make another set with a second frame, with the images also linked through various use of symbolism, color and other elements. They aren't intended to be straight forward or logical but rather to motivate interpretation.

Diessner said she is drawn to print making by the process of making the prints. Each step draws upon a different skill and experience, from photography, drawing and painting to the printing itself. She described the sensory experience and the combination of different art forms as a "major pull" into printmaking.

Sabbatical Work continues in Wadleigh Gallery through September 29.

--Ben Dennison

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