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MASSIMODECARLO is pleased to present Private Ceremonies, Diane Dal-Pra’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.

Diane Dal-Pra’s paintings explore the relationship between body and object, questioning how our material possessions can act as a crutch, providing a sense of security, stability and permanence. She alludes to how rituals and superstitions can form around such objects. With her work the artist encourages us to explore the duality of our relationship to the things we possess which, while defining us and our habits, also have the capacity to engulf us and our identities.

Dal-Pra translates the ‘latent states of consciousness’ that she experiences during insomnia into the dream-like atmosphere of her works. During these states objects often become a physical support that she uses to meditate on or excite daydreams.  Many of the titles of the works in Private Ceremonies relate to the passing of time while waiting for sleep such as ‘Suspended Time’, ‘Midnight Disorder’ and ‘Vanishing Point’. The artist does not impose fixed readings to her paintings, the objects are obscured, layered and veiled, purposefully hard to make out. This echos the transitory nature of focus when shifting in and out of sleep and daydreams and to encourage the viewer’s personal allusions while deciphering the work.

The artist works predominantly on large canvases giving her sculptural figures, that are formed from an assortment of objects and bodily forms, a monolithic stature. Her crafted compositions of varying textures and translucencies appear at the same time both three-dimensional and monumental yet also flat and one-sided. 

The paintings in Private Ceremonies are decidedly modern in their aesthetic and object choice yet perfectly timeless. The artist places great importance on the specific atmosphere of each work, deciding on the overall feeling to evoke during the early planning stages of the composition. The artist’s reverence for metaphysical and surrealist painters is tangible; her works evoke the silent atmospheres created by Polish-French artist Balthus, particularly her rendering of delicate hands, and also the innovative textured compositions of Italian painter Domenico Gnoli. While her expert handling of oil paint draws a connecting line through the history of painting beyond the Twentieth Century to the Renaissance and Mannerist painters that Dal-Pra cites as important influences.  

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