Diana Zasadny, "Near the Tipi Rings, Grasslands National Park," 2015
Diana Zasadny, "Near the Tipi Rings, Grasslands National Park," 2015, acrylic on canvas, 36” x 96”
Diana Zasadny’s paintings of the prairies are so textured they look almost like encaustic. But that waxy appearance is misleading – they are actually acrylic on canvas, created layer upon layer in thin washes interspersed with gel medium to stabilize and preserve the purity of the colour. “It will bead up,” explains Zasadny, who graduated in 1991 from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary. “It will make a puddling effect that looks textural.”
Zasadny has spent most of her adult life in Calgary, but recently moved to Lethbridge, where she grew up, and is now renewing her connection with the prairie landscape. Her upcoming show at Wallace Galleries, Notes from the Field, had its genesis in a weeklong trip to Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan. “It’s really inspiring to be an area that wild and remote,” she says. “It was spacious and vast. It has the same monumental feel the mountains have.”
While her work has an impressionistic quality, Zasadny is also influenced by abstract artists like Mark Rothko. Although she paints forests and mountains, it’s her prairie paintings that really capture the ephemeral quality of nature – the light, for instance, against the patterned waves of billowing grass, much loved by those who grew up watching the shifting moods and big skies of horizontal vistas.
Diana Zasadny is represented by three Alberta galleries – the Candler Art Gallery in Camrose, the Gust Gallery in Waterton, and Wallace Galleries in Calgary, where her exhibition runs Nov. 17 to Nov. 30. Her work sells for $500 to $7,000.