STATEMENT about this series
All I want is to be the river though I return again and again to the clouds
[Title is from a poem by Carrie Fountain Let us be the fine line of light.]
My interest is in the sliver of space between the sky and the water, between open air and surface tension, between the solidity and firmness of the earth and the mysterious, unknowable, impermanent depths of dark river water. I’m interested in the way a body and a boat can glide, as one, along that water line, and also—somehow—transcend it. I’m interested in how a boat, a body, water, and sky can mean so much more than what’s physically there.
The 3-dimensional forms of these artworks are cast from parts of my single rowing shell—a very long, almost impossibly thin, boat for sculling. These boat forms are filled with and are surrounded by etchings of bodies and water and riverbanks that relate physically and emotionally to a liminal state between the fixed and knowable and the impermanent and unknowable.
I’m at my most focused, raw, and open-hearted when I pierce through the spaces between air and water when I scull, and I find myself in the discomfort of liminal spaces, sculling on the surface of a dark river surrounded by the unknown. The relation of the bright air and the dark water to our conscious and unconscious minds seems more than metaphorical, it seems palpable—the dark river obscures shapes and memories and experiences hidden in it and the light of air, of consciousness, seems to tell us that what we see clearly around us is all there is (no dark river; no unconscious motivations or mysteries). Where the unconscious and the conscious worlds meet is changeable and charged.
THE THINGS THEMSELVES; how did you make that?
At the core of her work, Diessner is attempting to reach and replicate a very specific space: a transitional area between sky and water, between the internal activities of the body and external phenomena of nature, between what can be known, and what can’t. And while the river runs through it, it remains an untraversed place for Diessner’s works to inhabit and explore.
The 3-dimensional forms of these artworks are cast from parts of my single rowing shell—a very long, almost impossibly thin, boat for sculling—and are supported by mahogany strips used on racing shells before the advent of carbon fiber. These boat forms are filled with and are surrounded by photopolymer etchings of the natural environment around water and riverbanks, of bodies moving through water, and of the dim and hazy landscapes under water. These images, and the boat form itself, relate physically and emotionally to the fragile relationship between nature and human activity. That relationship is both sublime and fraught. Rivers are rich and poetic metaphors for our unconscious thoughts, and are locations of horrible environmental abuse as well as heroic acts of conservation and restoration. These works of art are about those many layers of meaning that tie us to our world and separate us from it.