Diana Behl is an artist and educator based in Brookings, SD. She holds an MFA and MA in Printmaking from The University of Iowa, a BFA in Two-Dimensional and Design Studies from Bowling Green State University, and is an Associate Professor in the School of Design at South Dakota State University. Behl has received grants from the Bush and Griffith Foundations and the South Dakota Arts Council to support her artistic and teaching practices, which are rooted in traditional and expanded printmaking processes and works on paper.
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My work considers the space between direct and indirect means of image making using the everyday as a structure for inquiry. I am interested in the work of poet Bernadette Mayer, whose writing prompts have offered a mode of interpretation and approach to distill or shape narratives within my practice.
Print media is inherently indirect. A printing matrix is a vessel, a holding ground for history, action, erasure, and the individual characteristics of your hand. Images are transferred onto copper, linoleum, or plexiglass and those surfaces generate an impression which is further developed and transformed through direct methods of layering, cutting, and drawing. The overlapping of multiple inked plates imbues symbolism of the body: a bruise, blush, scrape, an accidental burn. I question: How are these elements mutable? How do they transform or challenge meaning over time? What is lost in translation or added during these direct, indirect, and transfer actions, and how does repetition enable or distort mediation? The work inevitably functions as a record of these inquiries.