About The Work

Diana Shpungin challenges the concepts of the drawn vs. sculptural object. Examining themes of memory, myth, superstition, failure, longing, and loss, Shpungin’s method employs a painstaking process and a looming optimism, while seeking empathy across identity lines.

Concerned with beauty as a sublime idea rather than as a straightforward formal element, the sentimental both seduces and repels. However, that duality has become a necessary element in the work, always looking for a balance between form and content, superstition and logic, science and the sentimental, success and failure, public and private and the poetic and the rational.

The use of graphite pencil as an elemental tool, both permanent and denoting erasure, is the foundation to Shpungin’s practice. While an obsessive language of materials and repair techniques have been developed based on her late immigrant surgeon fathers frugal methods.

Drawing behaves as an obsessive act, probing memory and reclaiming the familiar and non. The sculptural works too function as drawings, but in three-dimensional space, meticulously coating objects with graphite pencil as if they removed themselves from the two-dimensional plane and into our bodily space providing an ever greater intimacy and physicality with the object itself. Many of the drawings are further used to create animation works, “purposely failed animations”, or “moving stills”, –never successfully animating the inanimate subject sourced from the motionless world of photography or the even more metaphorically static realm of memory.

All these methods maintain a peculiar sense of longing, –the subject matter may directly address this, a formal sensibility of tension may be employed or longing can be implied by way of a self-imposed conceptual failure, –often having a purposeful yet ambiguous sense of incompletion.