Dianne Blell

Table for Two/Separate Tables (A Fairy Tale in the Time of Social Distancing),2020

First, I truly hope the Pandemic will heighten consciousness, desire and respect for the quality of our global environment. In the context of the Art World, I firmly believe it will effect inevitable changes in our working and exhibiting arrangements professionally — and Privately and Socially re-define or alter our innate conscious awareness of intimacy, contact, and caring concern for one another by this exacted experience of distancing. Just as in my Table for Two/Separate Tables installation, an element of inherent horror dwells with wonder under the surface of our far-fetched idealistic and romantic fantasies in Fairy Tales. ‘Will we live happily ever after?’

Artist Statement
Dianne Blell’s Table for Two/Separate Tables. Dessert, set at two tables, chained together yet six feet apart, beneath a chandelier, is demonstrative of distress and liminality in our contemporary society of ‘distance.’ Overtly, the chain is an emblem of a modernized captivity — the paradox of familiar comfort and physicality of isolation. Yet, still shackled together, the tables are an allegory for the inner-emotional-pull to be near another human being. (Where does this pull originate?) This yearning for nearness must be repressed; lure is eclipsed by suspicion. Here, transgressing social ‘distance’ mandates may harm both the Self and the Other — an unfamiliar segregation that newly permeates the psyche. This piece continues Dianne’s overarching, lifelong thematic unpacking of the complexities of ‘desire’ throughout different art-historical periods. Yet where ‘desire’ was previously constructed as the ineluctable intensity of lure, Table signifies a historical moment in its censure. Written by Rachel M. Ward.  Written by Rachel M. Ward.

Dianne Blell
Table for Two/Separate Tables (A Fairy Tale in the Time of Social Distancing), 2020

Dianne Blell is a Fine Art photographer working in New York City most known for her classical photographs depicting archetypal mythological and religious Art Historical themes with live models, costumes and elaborate hand-painted studio sets. Using 4×5 large format in her current series “Artifacts”(working title, since 2019), tattered, discarded fragments of furnishings create disrupted still life studies. She has been exhibiting her work since the 1970s and received the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, National Endowment for the Arts grant, and several other awards. She was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Photography for her experimental Pre-Photoshop digital work in her series “Circus Animals Desertion” (1989). Her subsequent Photoshop mytho-scape ensembles, “Desire for the Intimate Deity,” took nearly a decade to complete after her studio, located at Ground Zero, was decimated in 9/11. Photographing from the rooftop of and through her studio windows, her photos of the aftermath of this tragedy are now in the 9/11 Memorial Museum collection. Dianne was represented by the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City, from 1982 until its closing in 2000 having had four one person shows. Dianne is now affiliated with the esteemed photography venue, Holden Luntz Gallery. Her work is in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Parrish Museum, Guild Hall of East Hampton, Neuberger Museum, New Britain Museum of Art, Center for Creative Photography, Chazen Art Museum, and the University Art Museum at Berkeley.