Dianne Longley, BVA, MA, PhD
I work with a range of traditional and digital processes including printmaking, encaustic and oil painting, pokerwork on wooden panels, artist books, on-glaze porcelain, and small scale bronze casting. In 2014 I moved from Adelaide, South Australia to Trentham in the Central Highlands in Victoria.
My work depicts dreams and fantasies, weaving real and imagined figures and landscapes into curious and absurd narratives.
Chris Reid writes “Exotic, weird, yet seductive and lovable, Dianne Longley’s little monsters tell tales from the theatre of life. There are kings, knaves, devils, tricksters and clowns; there are anthropomorphic characters — elves, monkeys, strangely-dressed frogs, giraffes, and mice that ride elephants. There is a bird of paradise with a woman’s head, a beauty on wings. A crawling man is sprouting a tree. Someone asks directions from a chicken.”
I have been an exhibiting artist for over four decades and have held many solo exhibitions and have exhibited in scores of group exhibitions in Australia and abroad. In my art practice I combine a technical sophistication with an intellectual curiosity.
Themes of the curious and the grotesque are central to many of my works that are explored through various media. My works often combine primordial plant forms such as yuccas, agaves and cacti, with fanciful figures and imagined landscapes. Magicians signal a quest, fantastic creatures interact, and medieval monsters are guardians of future possibilities. Inhabiting these small works are creatures from the Renaissance historia animalium of Conrad Gesner, humorous figures from 16th century French humanist and artist François Rabelais, contemporary Japanese ‘kawaii’, pop-imagination figures and toys, and grotesque historical imagery. This cast of creatures and plants are combined to create various and curious scenarios. My characters live in a world where nothing is certain.
In 2000 my research Masters at Flinders University ‘The Book, The Print, The Artist and The Digital Era’ brought together my love of the history of book production with my printmaking practice. The thesis chronicled the shift in book production from manuscripts created in monasteries to the cranking of the early printing presses and movable type.
The production of artist’s books has been an ongoing practice in my oeuvre, ranging from unique hand-painted books to limited edition hand-printed books. Many of my artist’s books are in the collections of the SLV and the NLA and can also be viewed on this website in the Portfolio section.
In 2018 I was awarded a PhD by the ANU, ‘The Development of a Print Culture in South Australia Post-WWII to 2008: institutions, politics and personalities’ that focused on a previously overlooked era in SA printmaking.
To view more of my artworks explore the Portfolio section of this website. For information about my art practice look at the Artwork Archive in this section of the website for a chronology of exhibition catalogues and reviews.