Always the Light
By Tom Wachunas, with
“…But the transcendentalism by which all men live has
primarily much the position of the sun in the sky. We are conscious of it as a
kind of splendid confusion; it is something both shining and shapeless, at once
a blaze and a blur…” – G.K. Chesterton
First, the blur.
Since learning of the sudden passing of Diane Belfiglio a few days ago, I know
I do not grieve alone in a state of numbing sorrow, incapable of finding words
to describe the enormity of her departing our midst.
But then, the shape
of her shining cuts through the billowing clouds of sadness. I remember. Thank
Dear God I remember. Her impact as superb artist, beloved friend, teacher most
excellent, colleague most encouraging. An altogether inspired and inspiring creative
force in our community. Here are some of Diane’s words about her work:
educated in a professional art world that has been characterized by its shock
value, biting social commentary, and 'in-your-face' commercial images. In
contrast to that world in which I was raised, I am simply endeavoring to create
in my art a respite for our weary souls…. No matter the subject or medium, my
work is firmly grounded in the formalist ideas that have interested me since my
beginnings as a professional artist: closely cropped images bathed in the
interplay of pattern between sunlight and shadows. Although realistic in
presentation, I rely heavily on the underlying abstract qualities of my forms.
Shadows, ethereal by nature, take on a rigid structural aspect in my compositions.
Colors range from brilliant to subtle in an effort to reproduce the strong
sense of sunlight streaming through each piece. My goal is to transform the
mundane into the extraordinary, so that we see beauty in images that generally
go unnoticed by most of us on a daily basis.”
indeed. I have been writing about Diane’s work for about 25 years. So now let
me offer you, dear readers, this memorial composite of past comments from
I’ll always see
Belfiglio’s oeuvre as something akin to one hand firmly caressing earthbound
materiality, the other channeling through it the warmth and movement of light. The
ethos of her work is a see-worthy vessel that remains buoyant and sturdy in
turbulent waters – intact and unabashedly beautiful in our splintered culture
too often floundering in pointless pop junk and ugly sensationalism. Hers are
contemplative, mindful visions for our thoughtless times. As such, they are
acts of bravery, courage and love on canvas or paper. Woven into the arresting
formal elegance of her pictures is a consistently tender, mesmerizing harmony
of astonishing technical acuity and compositional lyricism that imbues them
with the rarefied air of poetry. Call it all a constant rising to ineluctable
Always, the light. Rest there, dear friend Diane.
And finally, here
are two links. The first, to Diane’s gorgeous website so you can visit and be
reminded of her brilliant work. The second to Zanesville Museum of Art’s
beautiful posting on Diane’s current exhibit there.