Dianna Wells has been a visual artist for approximately 30 years working under various disciplines including print making, design and photography. After completing her Masters a few years ago, Dianna returned to her Fine Art practice, predominately documenting the relationship between natural landscapes and human intervention. Her latest project is a collaboration with writer Sophie Cunningham titled 'Boundaries' and explores both the geographical and historical boundaries of Melbourne City.
We currently have a series of images from 'Boundaries' on the walls in our office printed on Canson Platine . After so many years of scanning negatives, its great to see them in print form - the detail that comes from the 4x5 film is exceptional!
Education and background:
I began my career as a printmaker after studying at the Canberra School of Art (BFA). I co-founded Another Planet Posters in Melbourne in the 1980s and afterwards my own design studio. After a career in design and many years of taking photographs for personal projects, I decided to return to my Fine Art practice. I completed a Masters by Research in photo media at Monash University in 2013, supervised by Claudia Terstappen.
Where are you based?
I have a studio at The Meat Market in North Melbourne, it is managed by The City of Melbourne.
How long have you been a visual artist for?
Approximately 30 years.
What do you feel is your biggest achievement to date?
My first exhibition of photographic works at Edmund Pearce gallery in 2012 was a huge achievement personally. After working commercially in design for many years, it was a turning point to feel confident enough to produce and hang an exhibition of large photographic works.
What are your creative influences?
The Australian landscape, both natural and urban.
Australian painters: Rick Amor, Russell Drysdale, Jeffrey Smart, Grace Cossington Smith, Clarice Beckett
Photographers working in black and white:
James Tylor, Joyce Campbell, Walker Evans, Sally Mann (landscapes),
Rosemary Laing, Siri Hayes, Christopher Koller, Zhang Kechun, Paul Gaffney, Bill Henson, Brook Andrew.
What camera/equipment do you use?
Canon EOS 5D Mark 11
Describe your photographic style and how it has changed over the years.
I guess its ‘emotional realist’, with a documentary style. I try to capture a painterly quality in my work by way of atmosphere (the time of year and the time of day) and the weather conditions prevailing at the time.
I’m interested in capturing natural and urban landscapes undergoing change through development or human behaviour. I’ve been working with analogue cameras in colour for six years (colour negative film and colour transparency film) and printing large prints 1m x 1m from digital scans. I produced two bodies of work ‘On Edge’ (2012) and ‘Suburban Geometric’ (2014) capturing landscapes, buildings and objects on the edge of Melbourne.
I have just completed a small book called ‘Boundaries’ with the writer Sophie Cunningham, we embarked on an exploration of the City of Melbourne’s current boundary and produced a body of work (an essay and photographs) relating to the boundaries, which were both geographic and historical. The project was funded by a City of Melbourne arts grant.
These projects can be seen on my website: diannawells.com.au
Over the last year I have been developing a series in black and white titled ‘Primitive Settlers’ exploring the aesthetic and moral complexities of introduced plants and seeds growing wild in Australian National Parks and bushland environments. I have been experimenting with hand printed silver gelatin prints, and have yet to produce a complete body of work.