It is difficult not to use the word 'beauty' in conjunction with Diane Feught's paintings on paper. The fair distribution of attributes creates a sense of divine proportion. There is symmetry between the exoticism of the subject matter and the formal elements of the piece, substantiated by a remarkably adept execution. This balance between the subject and the process provokes a self effacing exclamation of pleasure, an un-selfing, or the “opiate adjacency” that Elaine Scarry in her book “On Beauty” speaks of experiencing when in the presence of beauty. Self consciousness disappears and the ego steps aside, paying honour to the experience and yet retaining enough of the self to appreciate the brush with beauty. The moment extends and repeats itself as memory. This is when the art piece transcends time and the image assumes a life of it's own and although each piece is different one from the other, there is a stream of visual similarity running through the series as if they all belong to the same exquisite circumstance.
How does Diane Feught manage to measure up to the rigorous strictures that define beauty as an elevated state? By breaking down the overall impression into specific elements, there is perfection within each aspect- the color is rich with the compositional placement of the window in a field of patterning (applied with stencil or linocut repetition) promoting a feeling of luxurious elegance. The gold and silver leaf, the graceful patterns of wall paper or floral material, the framing of the windows with slats or seemingly carved embellishments, all lend an aura of aristocracy as if the world is the site of a series of exquisite peeks.
Diane Feught also brings into play cultural particulars using costumes, a blushing light, a wan, consumptive complexion, a chocolate skin, or a faded nostalgia to shuttle between the past, the present and the future or to fly across oceans or catch a searing glimpse of an art nouveau flash of eroticism. She is a steward of the strange and curious having formed close acquaintances with the denizens of her own imagination. She brings forth an affirmation of beauty from the wonderful panoply of existence and offers the chance to saturate in the pleasure through the grateful distraction of a phenomenal art piece.
Copyright © 2007, Julie Oakes