Ozolins’ formative years were in NYC during the East Village arts explosion, where she pursued painting as a personal means of expression, and took advantage of the wide range of museums and galleries. After completing a bachelor’s degree in education at Syracuse University, she pursued formal studies as a non-matriculated student at Syracuse University, SUNY Cortland, Tompkins Cortland Community College, and afterward under the mentorship of various local artists such as Gillian Pederson Craig and the late George Dugan.
She has exhibited regionally at Memorial Art Gallery of Rochester, The Schweinfurth and the Cayuga Museum in Auburn, as well as regional galleries and business venues such as Ithaca, Seneca Falls, and the Thousand Islands.
Inner Worlds/Outer Worlds – Two Views: Painting and sculpture by Jane Dennis and Diana Ozolins will be on display in the main gallery from April 4th -29th.
Dennis’ metaphorical paintings and sculptures explore the psychological and bureaucratic structures that people create to order or disorder their world, while Ozolins’ realistic paintings celebrate the beauty and wonder of our natural world.
Blue Etude #2, Hearts of Stone, 16" x 20", acrylic on canvas, $500
Yellow #5 three triangles, 16" x 18", acrylic on canvas, $500
Blue Etude #3, Quadrilaterals, 16" x 18", acrylic on canvas, $500
Yellow #6 three Rectangles, 16" x 18", acrylic on canvas, $500
Yellow #4 Blue Cross, 18" x 18", acrylic on canvas, $550
Artist Statement for Five Abstracts Included in January 2018 Member Show Part I
I have five new abstracts in the Member Show Part 1 at the State of the Art Gallery Ithaca. The show runs from January 3-28, 2018, with a gallery night reception on Friday, January 12.
The five paintings in the Member Show Part I at the State of the Art Gallery, Ithaca, were chosen from a series of abstracts on which I have been working during the fall of this year. They represent a detour from the landscape paintings that I’ve been doing for an upcoming show in April among others, and represent a complete departure of materials, tools and technique. Previously I’d been doing the landscapes for quite a while, Spring and early summer found me outside with my easel in various gorges and fields, as well as in studio with photos of cloud-scapes. Doing representational landscape implies a commitment to reality, yet the physicality of my materials is an important aspect of my art. My preferred palette knife technique results in a highly-textured surface, where seemingly random shapes coalesce into realism at a distance. Being “loose” and real at the same time is a balancing act, depending on a relaxed state of unselfconsciousness. Knowing how something is “supposed to look” and being faithful to its nature after a while began to result in an anxious self-consciousness that was constraining my spontaneous free flow of paint. At times like those, I turn to abstraction as a way to play with color without expectation of outcome. I start with a color premise, and explore it. The painting becomes a puzzle to solve. There is an infinite number of choices, decisions to make, and no set answers. It is play that only becomes serious when the painting is nearing resolution. For this series, I gravitated to brush instead of palette knife, and switched from oils to acrylics. My color premise was to create compositions using color families to create subtlety rather than complementary colors to create high impact drama. The first few were painted with various yellows and orange, and the next were studies with combinations of blue, using yellow and magenta to gently modify them. I indulged in using colors not found in the landscape. The openness of abstraction and the reality of landscape work nicely together as foils for each other. I began working back and forth during this project, with oils at one end of the studio and acrylics at the other end.
Up Close and Personal, August 2014
Diana Ozolins and Margy Nelson showed works on paper and canvas at the State of the Art Gallery. They are long term friends who met as natural science illustrators. Thirty years later, they still share an enduring love of nature, while exploring different styles and media. Diana paints primarily with oil and palette knife, and Margy draws in line and color on the computer. “Up Close and Personal,” their first joint show, ran from July 30 to August 31, 2014.
Turning Points, September 2012
“Turning Points” is an exhibition of paintings by Diana Ozolins and Marian VanSoest, two artists who both feel that they have come to crossroads in their art. Ozolins paints with oil on canvas and her subject matter includes landscape, portrait and figurative works. VanSoest’s work is abstract in nature and she uses a variety of media.
Landscapes Near and Far, 2009
The cry of gulls, the boom of surf exploding on rocks, sun drenched ancient slabs of granite, wind roaring in from the ocean — Schoodic, Maine, is a magical place. “Landscapes Near and Far” presents paintings inspired by the ocean and tidal pools of Maine, as well as more familiar places closer to home. This show contains both small works done quickly on location, as well as larger works done in the studio from photos and oil sketches. Traveling with paint has become a regular part of the year for Ozolins. The rigor of painting in unfamiliar surroundings leads to only one rule — no preconceptions, no mulling over what or where, just find what strikes the eye and rivet it to the canvas. Returning home always lets her see the local environment with fresh eyes, whether it is the sunrise over East Hill, the snow on a forsythia bush, or rain over the inlet.
Ozolins’ works have been familiar to gallery goers in Ithaca since the early 1990’s. She works with either palette knife, or brush; fragmenting the light and shadow into a splintered burst of color, or gently caressing the folds of rock and swirls of water.