Benefit 2020 Auction Items: Diane Pieri’s ‘Sunday in Varanasi’

 Travel is not only a porthole through which to glimpse other lives, other rituals, other values, but it also serves as a catalyst that forces you to appreciate irony and contradiction, and sometimes even spark sorely needed transformation in your own life. It beckons you to weave new color and music and vitality into your own experiences, producing a richer, more textured, tolerant and engaged life experience. And there is no place on earth that seems more rife with color, myth, music, and contradiction than India. And particularly Varanasi, the holiest of seven sacred cities for Hindus and Jains and the pilgrim-drawing capital of India. [1] The Ganges river in this Northern Indian city, for example, is a place so full of sewage and filth that it is one of the world’s most polluted rivers, yet it draws thousands of worshipers to plunge into its purifying water. [2] As eloquently noted by Sharanya Deepak: “This town is surreal…It’s crumbling, poetic, and eccentric. Goats wearing sweaters, old men taking dips, boys flying kites, and burning bodies are everyday sights.” [3] How can you reconcile this crushing dichotomy of beauty and misery, of devastating overpopulation and individual spiritual enlightenment, of burning bodies and sublime temples? And how can a painting capture the restless, complex, beautiful spirit of such a place?

Diane Pieri seems to distill the shimmering, vibrant cacophony of this place in her painting entitled Sunday in Varanasi, measuring 23 x 33 x2. Full disclosure: having never visited, I can only imagine the colors, the spirit, the bustling, crowded humanity of Varanasi, starkly contrasting the shadowy, darker aspects of the city. Yet Diane Pieri seems to have found a lens through which to capture the magic and splendor of such a complex place. She states: “My paintings are translations of and reactions to gorgeous marble inlays, breathtaking landmarks, delightful Indian folk images and intensely colorful experiences from this pivotal trip.”  She notes an interest in Indian miniatures, which traditionally are filled with vivid color and symbolism. The colors in this piece seem to pop out of the canvas with their beauty and joyfulness, and the multitude of shapes seem to capture the commotion on the banks of the Ganges river, possibly alluded to by the light blue shape of a boat and the darker blue waves filled with organic leaflike shapes underneath. And despite the contradictions inherent in Varanasi, this painting leaves us with a sense of wonder, delight, and fascination with this alluring place. 

Sunday in Varanasi, Diane Pieri
Auction Item #275

Diane Pieri received a BFA from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in 1969. She has had 31 solo exhibitions and has been included in 210 national and international group exhibits. She was the recipient of two Pollock-Krasner grants and two Independence Foundation Fellowships in the Arts, and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant. She has been a teaching artist at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for twenty-one years and has taught at the Barnes Foundation for four years.

[1] Sharanya Deepak, “21 Things to Know Before You Go to Varanasi,” Roads and Kingdoms, May 4, 2018, https://roadsandkingdoms.com/2016/know-before-you-go-to-varanasi/

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Randall Cleaver
Marjorie Grigonis is a painter who has spent 15 years as an art teacher, a professor at several colleges and universities. Currently she works in her studio in Philadelphia, where she belongs to the 3rd Street Gallery, a co-operative which she supports. In the 70's she was a founding member of an artists co-op in NYC. Her work is abstract, both in painting and drawing. They sometimes combine in mixed media with collage. These works may include fragments from the collection of memorabilia in her studio. Her work has been influenced by travel, Morocco, Mexico, and repeated trips to Japan and Europe
Marjorie Grigonis

Marjorie Grigonis is a painter who has spent 15 years as an art teacher, a professor at several colleges and universities.…

Marjorie Grigonis is a painter who has spent 15 years as an art teacher, a professor at several colleges and universities. Currently she works in her studio in Philadelphia, where she belongs to the 3rd…

Marjorie Grigonis is a painter who has spent 15 years as an art teacher, a professor at several colleges and universities. Currently she works in her studio in Philadelphia, where she belongs to the 3rd Street Gallery, a…

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She Loves to paint. It's pretty much all she wants to do.
Shes Loves to paint the world and the beautiful things in it — 
and she Loves that people really Love her paintings of our beautiful world and the beautiful things in it!

There is nothing really special about Jenn, she's just painter who paints... just about anything, just about all the time. 

P.S. She's a bit of a formalist — her world is made up of line, color, shape, form, structure, composition and plasticity. And, while she paint from observation, the subject of the painting is not her objective. The process of painting is her objective — the process of how to best use the medium, often oil paint, to create and subjugate form on the two dimensional surface of the canvas.
Jenn Hallgren

Jenn is a painter! Mostly she's an oil painter, though she's been known to use just about any medium available at a given…

Jenn is a painter! Mostly she's an oil painter, though she's been known to use just about any medium available at a given moment.

She Loves to paint. It's pretty much all she wants to do.
Shes Loves…

Jenn is a painter! Mostly she's an oil painter, though she's been known to use just about any medium available at a given moment.

She Loves to paint. It's pretty much all she wants to do.
Shes Loves to paint the world…

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I attribute the source of my artistic inspiration to my love, fear, and awe of nature as it both represents and defines the tension and optimism of life. My “Take Any Road Series” encourages the viewer to have the confidence to experience life no matter how difficult or confusing, beautiful, or powerful. All of this exists with an underlying structure of assumptions.
I think we all see the world a little differently and feel our own experience uniquely.  I paint using what all of my senses have given to me as the experience.  When I paint the sky, I am feeling the wind, putting it to music in my head, remembering the smell of the chance of rain, tasting the air, seeing the clouds dance. 
Fran Lightman Gibson

Fran Lightman Gibson a Philadelphia painter working primarily with oil on canvas.
I attribute the source of my artistic…

Fran Lightman Gibson a Philadelphia painter working primarily with oil on canvas.
I attribute the source of my artistic inspiration to my love, fear, and awe of nature as it both represents and defines…

Fran Lightman Gibson a Philadelphia painter working primarily with oil on canvas.
I attribute the source of my artistic inspiration to my love, fear, and awe of nature as it both represents and defines the tension and optimism…

Donna Quinn
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