April 1 – April 26, 2004
Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith Gallery
In March the Wayne Art Center will present a special survey exhibition of work painted from 1964 through 2004 by Berwyn artist Diana Kingman. This show, organized by the Wayne Art Center, is the first to present Kingman’s development from a representational painter to a lyrical abstractionist.
Of her abstractions, the works for which she is best known, the artist says that she still wants to evoke “light, trees, water, underbrush or the feeling of looking through branches to sky” that she captured in her earlier representational paintings.
Diana Kingman grew up in Haverford, where she started painting as a young child. Her mother, who was an amateur painter, “loved the idea that I liked to paint,” Ms. Kingman recalls. She continued making art while a student at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire. After a year in Paris studying art history, she transferred to New York City’s Columbia University, where she earned a B.A. in art history. On returning to Philadelphia in 1964, she painted the earliest work included in this exhibition, Azaleas.
In the early 1970s Ms. Kingman joined a private class in Ardmore, run by Jim Lueders, Dan Miller and Elizabeth Osborne, which her mother was already attending. Soon afterwards, she was painting figures and still lifes at home and painting from landscapes in Jim Lueder’s Manayunk and Saunders Woods classes. In 1977, when Ms. Kingman was 37 and her children in school, Lueders finally convinced her to study full time at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Upon leaving the Academy in 1981, Ms. Kingman painted independently in her Berwyn studio and occasionally attended workshops at the Wayne Art Center. After winning Best of Show in a Wayne Art Center juried exhibition, she had her first area solo show at WAC in 1987.
Ms. Kingman’s work became more and more abstract, as in Still Life with Montgomery Avenue (1990), after she met the artist Maxine Manges, whom she credits with “veering me toward abstraction.” Ms. Kingman occasionally attended workshops--such as a 1990 class with Jacob Landau in which she painted her large Self-Portrait --and continues to do representational studies from figure models and landscape.
In conjunction with her exhibition, Ms. Kingman will teach a one-day workshop, “Abstraction and the Figure,” on Saturday, March 20, from 10:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. In the class, which is open to teens and adults, students will do life-size self-portraits on paper by tracing out full-bodied silhouettes of each other. Using the lines from these portraits, students will experiment with color, form and shape. Call the Wayne Art Center for more information.
Diana Kingman: Paintings & Drawings, 1964-2004, will hang from April 1 through 26 in the Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith Gallery. A reception to meet the artist will be held Saturday evening, March 6, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
Image: Diana Kingman, Bright April