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Largely self-taught, Diana Armstrong constantly studies painting techniques and the history of art. She is influenced by and admires the paintings of Rembrandt, Klimt, Odd Nurdrum and Kate Leiper.

Diana is fascinated by animals as her subjects, yet to describe her merely as an animal painter is insufficient to express her highly inventive and imaginative approach to her subject matter. In a search to find a genre that best describes her work, she has chosen the term 'Magical Realism' which concerns itself with broken boundaries between the mythical and the real.

I have not attempted to gather a documentary record of species behaviour; instead I am drawn to the undiscovered, the psyche of animals. Over the millennia we have lived with them, identified with them, revered them, befriended them, and loved them. Yet we've also feared them for the great power they possess. They are more to us than simple farmyard animals. They are, in every sense, living mythic creatures. Depicted as supreme beasts as well as mythological and historical symbols, we can see the sacred history of ourselves, our passage through time. They take us into our own ancient past and show us our other self (for example the horse as a heroic symbol, a mythical beast ridden by great warriors, and the gods.)

I am strongly influenced by spiritual and religious paintings which is why I use gold and silver leaf. It was used extensively throughout the Middle Ages in early Christian iconography where it lends a brilliance and spiritual dimension to a painting that is not possible any other way. The mirror-like reflection on the paint surface changes as the viewer walks round the painting, adding an extra element of interaction with the viewer. The paintings come alive particularly at night in a candlelit room throwing back the viewers presence with wonderful flickering highlights. Diana Armstrong

catalogue (issuu)

catalogue (pdf)

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E-mail: info@hayhillgallery.com