Diana Berek: Art on the Line

More posts in the ART ON THE LINE thread can be found by clicking here.

Land is the common thread.

I’ve been working with denim.
Recycled, worn out, discarded blue jeans.
I did what little Polish Catholic girls do
When I was growing up.
I tied quilts for my aunts
Learned to sew, to embroider.
It has stayed with me in the city,
Many years, many miles from the farm.

I started painting landscapes.
Other painters told me
My paintings look like quilts
The plowed land folding back and forth
The furrows standing out as grids from the paint
And so I began to in-corporate
The history of our land, our people on the land,
In the body of my work.

There are two paintings: one where you see
Images of indigenous Americans
Emerging from the landscape,
Shadowy figures.
The history of Chicagou begins with their landscape.
In the other, you see
Images of slaves and cotton.
Intertwined, cotton slavery
Defines our history, our people.

But always working toward abstraction
I’ve been working with denim.
With discarded worn-out blue jeans.
These are the fabrics of work, of the land.
I tear them apart, cut them up,
Piece them together like a quilt
Taut on stretcher bars to make a canvas,
A landscape of our past
Our working class,
How we carved out our history,
As we built, as we plowed.

So you see we’ve come full circle.
And I’ve been painting circles too.
In the center of these circles is a door
To the past
To the future
A different landscape

4 Responses to “Diana Berek: Art on the Line”

  1. casbah3d Says:

    Diana,
    Beautiful!
    What a delight to run across this work!
    Thanks for being in this world.
    Cathi Bouzide

  2. Anne Schultz Says:

    Dear Diana, oh dear, I read this quite a while ago, meant to respond, never did, and now it’s the day of the Festival so I’ll see you later to respond anyway, but I just want to do it in writing because this was my intent!!

    I love what you wrote. The images ar so clear, and the way you tie it all together with the circles is splendid. I like very much what I.A. Richards calls “the abridgement of the concept” – to me, it’s what writing and painting are always doing, and you’ve done that so well here – so much said in just a few images, selected surely not only by your conscious mind, a whole huge context beautifully abridged and it’s the images that do it that stay in my mind. Am I making sense? A thing I often wonder! Anyway, you have a wonderful sense of history.
    See you later.
    Love, Me

  3. Anne McGravie Says:

    Diana, I can’t hope to response as beautifully and fully as Anne has just done. She’s the master of the writing craft. Just will say I admire the poetry in which you have framed your thinking and your work processes. A writer at the Rabbit last night talked about the number of artists one can find any day at the cafe. Indeed, Rogers Park is a remarkable gathering of creative people. Maybe we were destined to gather daily at the cafe and drink up the energy and spirit of artists such as you with our coffee. Thank you for your lovely words. Cheers!

  4. iconlang Says:

    Diana, It is an honor to be your neighbor. Your ideas are as big and generous as the practical work you do for so many. Congratulations on the fullness of your life! MB


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