Linger In the Presence of Diane Dal-Pra’s Silent Oil Paintings

Get lost in the movement and stillness in Diane Dal-Pra’s grand oil paintings. The serene compositions that depict a single faceless subject in silent domestic scenes, allude to themes of subjectivity and individuality in a reality where we have so many filters and tricks to optimize our appearances driven through social media. The intricate body of work holds a sculptural mannerism that attracts the viewer through neutral color palettes and organic movements that allow the viewer to connect to the subject in the most visceral of planes. We had the chance to interview the France-based artist where she offered a fresh input in her upbringing and her artistic approach. Galerie Derouillon debuted Dal-Pra’s Acqua in Bocca in September of 2020, and its effect continues to oscillate as we move pasted Q1 of this year.

Installation View of Acqua in Bocca, In exhibition September 4 – 26, 2020, Courtesy of the Artist and Gallerie Derouillon

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did art first come into your life?

My name is Diane Dal-Pra, I currently live and work in Paris. I grew up in Perigueux, a small and quiet city of the south west of France.

As long as I can remember, one of my first strong art experiences was in my grandmother’s house. 

She hung a Modigliani print portrait above her bedroom door. I can’t really say if I liked it, but it had something disturbing and magnetic for my childish eyes.

Has your work always taken on the style it currently embodies? 

Of course it hasn’t and I hope it will continue to evolve. I like the idea of production like a lifetime molt. 

Things slowly move and change by always memorizing the previous step.

Waiting for the guest, 2020, 146 x 114 cm, Courtesy of the Artist and Gallerie Derouillon

What is your process like? How do you begin a work? 

It’s not always the same process but I often spend a lot of time doing sketches. If something looks interesting to develop, I like to make a quick little oil painted study. 

It’s most of the time quite messy and clumsy, but it allows me to set the contrasts and the desired general atmosphere of the painting.

Then I start the painting, and things can change a lot once I’m in front of the canvas. I guess that’s what is so exciting and scary.

Installation View of Acqua in Bocca, In exhibition September 4 – 26, 2020, Courtesy of the Artist and Gallerie Derouillon

Walk us through a day in the studio. 

From the bike, to coffee, to painting. Many pleasant or torturing breaks to ask myself a thousand questions, then bike again!

From where do you draw inspiration? 

It’s complicated to make an exhaustive list of my inspirations. It’s the fabric of a bunch of visual (or not) elements which make sense together.

I’m just behind what I am, 2020,  Huile sur lin / Oil on linen, 162 x 130 cm, Courtesy of the Artist and Gallerie Derouillon

Have you ever delved in other forms of craft? Why or why not? 

Not yet – even if I’m more and more interested by the extension of painting in other forms with other consistency.

Does your work reference any Art Historical movements? 

If I had to choose those which influence me the most it would be Italian Renaissance, than the mannerism in reaction to this one. Surrealism too.

Untitled, 2020, Huile sur lin / Oil on linen, 46 x 55 cm, Courtesy of the Artist and Gallerie Derouillon

What’s next for you? 

Like everyone else, the period does not allow me much visibility over time. I have some exciting projects to come, with the Galerie Derouillon.

Continue doing some research, produce and have the opportunity to show my works are my priorities for the next months!

Still or Sparkling? 2020, Huile sur lin / Oil on Canvas, 162 x 130 cm (each), Courtesy of the Artist and Galerie Derouillon

At the end of each interview we like to ask the artist to recommend a friend whose work you love and would like for us to interview next. Who would you suggest? 

I made a residency at Palazzo Monti with her and had a crush on her work, Sophie Spedding.