The paintings of Diane Marsh have evolved over 40 years to portray universal issues which are both deeply personal and profoundly human.  They encompass a dedicated search for truth, beauty, and emotional honesty, while ultimately revealing images of pain, the sorrow of loss, hope, healing, and transcendence. Born in Buffalo, N.Y., Marsh was in graduate school at the University of Buffalo (1976-78) during a period of dynamic expansion in media arts, film, and photography.  Fellow students Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo, and Charlie Clough founded the alternative space, "Hallwalls", and the Albright Knox was a rich source of information and inspiration.   In 1979 Marsh received a grant from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, moved to New York, and set up a studio in Lower Manhattan.  In 1980 The Roswell Residence Program invited her to spend a year in New Mexico, at the end of which, she returned to New York.

The art scene in Manhattan in the early 1980s was exploding, and Diane Marsh with her studio in Tribeca, was living and painting right in the middle of it.  Artist's hot spots were the Mudd Club, the newly formed New Museum, the galleries in Soho, Finelli's Bar on Prince Street, and Puffy's Tavern in Tribecca.  Female artist's struggle for recognition spawned the Gorilla Girls.  Eric Fischl, David Salle, Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo, John Torreano, Leon Golub, and Julian Schnabel were all rising stars.  Media and the onset of Post Modernism influenced the artwork of the early '80s and helped expand the definition of painting whose subject matter could be mythical, political, personal, or social.  Neo Expressionist painting was at its peak, and emerging in a alternative movement were the appropriation artists Richard Pettibone, Richard Prince, and Sherrie Levine.  As a young artist in the midst of all this frenetic activity, Marsh's own work began to evolve and mature.  Her figurative works expanded with more psychologically charged content and her technique became a meticulous, "minimalist" painting style driven by her interest in universal human concerns.  Allan Frumkin Gallery, located "Uptown", was an important gallery for figurative artists.  In 1984, the gallery's Chicago branch, Frumkin/Struve Gallery, added Marsh to their stable which resulted in her works being exhibited alongside Phillip Pearlstein, Leon Golub, Joan Brown, Roy De Forest, Robert Arneson, and others.  She was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1985, the jurors being;  Audrey Flack, Joan Brown, and Pat Steir. Her work was featured in “Selections from the Frito-Lay Collection” in 1985 along with artists, Frank Stella, Jim Dine, Bruce Nauman, Sol Lewitt, Italo Scanga, Nancy Graves, Helen Frankenthaler, David Hockney,  and Robert Rauschenberg.   Roy Lichtenstein once said, “You weren’t a  young artist unless you traded with Best Products,  washing machines, stereo equipment, whatever they needed for their lofts.” Marsh’s work was featured in the Best Products Corporation Collection in 1985, acquired through a trade for a washing machine while living in New York. She began showing works with Ruth Siegal Gallery in New York as well as other venues around the city and  her career was on an upward track.  But several months later she suffered the tragic death of her partner.  In an attempt to  heal herself from that seemingly insurmountable loss, Marsh decided to abandon New York and moved to New Mexico in 1986.

Marsh lived in Santa Fe from 1988-1998.  In 1989 she had a solo exhibition at the Center For Contemporary Arts.  The vibrant Santa Fe cultural scene included artists like Terry and Joe Harvey Allen, and Jo Harvey Allen was the subject of several Marsh paintings.   During the Santa Fe years Marsh had solo exhibitions in Denver, Santa Fe, and Los Angeles, resulting in  the Hess Collection in California acquiring two works for their Museum.  Works were also included in the collections of the The Albuquerque Museum, The State Capitol Art Collection in Santa Fe,  The New Mexico State University Gallery in Las Cruces, and by the actors Amy Madigan and Ed Harris, along with many other private collections. Marsh married, her son was born in 1997, and the family moved to Lincoln, Nebraska in 1998.  Marsh received a Nebraska State Arts Council Grant in 2001.  In 2002 Marsh was invited on her second, year-long residence grant through the RAIR Foundation and moved back to Roswell, NM.  In 2003  Marsh moved to Abiquiu, New Mexico, established a studio, and was awarded a John Anson Kittridge Foundation Grant.  She had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Nebraska Art in 2005, and at the Addison Gallery in Santa Fe in 2006.  The Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, The Museum of Fine Art in Santa Fe, NM the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney, NE and the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph, MO have all acquired Marsh's works for their permanent collections. Currently, in 2018, with her son at University and an amiable divorce behind her, Marsh delves intently into her studio.  While always maintaining her connections and aesthetic base in New York , Marsh with her need for solitude and love of wilderness, lives in central New Mexico surrounded by a 50,000 acre cattle ranch, endless blue skies, and the beauty of the American West.

Written by Stuart Arends, Willard, New Mexico
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