Diana Shpungin, His View, 2011, hand-drawn video animation, continuous loop. Photo courtesy of the artist

Brooklyn Artist Diana Shpungin at the MOCA, Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson

Diana Shpungin recently sent ART511 Magazine an invitation to her upcoming 2020 solo exhibition. “If you are out west early next year I would love for you to visit my upcoming solo exhibition at MOCA Tucson. I will for the first time in a decade be exhibiting my hand-drawn animation works and two newly created animations that take an extensive and experimental approach.”

Diana Shpungin’s body of work re-imagines standard notions of drawing practice through painstakingly made hand-drawn animation. She was recently awarded the Pollock Krasner Foundation grant to help support her work.

For her solo exhibition Bright Light / Darkest Shadow at MOCA, Tucson, Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson will display nearly ten years of hand-drawn animation works consisting of literally thousands of original source drawings shown in three distinct gallery spaces of the museum.

The works in the exhibition consider numerous dichotomies, both literally and figuratively, between light/darkness, hope/despair, failure/triumph, memory/forgetfulness, nature/humanity, breakage/repair, loss/longing, public/private and the tangible/metaphysical as components reliant on one another, and in an optimistic quest for empathy across identity lines in the face of uncertainty in our current precarious times.

Shpungin often refers to some of her animation works as purposely failed animations, never successfully animating the inanimate subject born from memory or the metaphorically static world of photography. The work involves an incredibly laborious process of on site filming, sound recording, photography, drawing and then editing hundreds of graphite pencil source drawings.

On view are seventeen unique hand-drawn animation works accompanied by a selection of source drawings. In the museum’s main gallery space is a selection of works relating to the artists fascination with the seashore, Disappearing Act, Figure And Ground and Reoccurring Tide. As well as nine works born from Shpungin’s previous project, the monumental Drawing Of A House (Triptych) which, involved hand coating an entire abandoned rectory in graphite pencil and projecting animations in selected windows of the home.

The exhibition includes a number of Shpungin’s video compilations; the Triptych, which includes a two-video compilation; A Smudge May Well Be An Apparition with A Draft (For Felix), and related dual-channel work; The Dust In The Light (The Pessimist) and The Light In The Dark (The Optimist). A three-video compilation; A Severed Limb Persuaded To Return, Chronicle Of A Now Empty Space and Knowing How To Break Glass Quietly (The Ascetic).

In a smaller enclosed gallery there are three additional videos consisting of works relating to Shpungin’s deceased father. Until It No Longer is based on a photographic death portrait taken by the artist, this would be the last image taken of her father. Shpungin decided to draw the portrait over and over randomly over several years until she became somewhat anesthetized to the image.

The animation work Endless Ocean is based on a family photograph chosen by the artist as an homage to Roland Barthes notion of his mother’s essence in the text Camera Lucida.

Shpungin has also created two entirely new works for the exhibition, which are projected on large sheets of drawing paper floating in a dark space. These new undertakings are at once the most elaborate and experimental works Shpungin has made to date.

A full color had-cover catalog will accompany the exhibition with essays by Lisa D. Freiman and Ginger Shulick-Porcella.

Diana Shpungin lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and was born in Latvia’s seaside capital of Riga under Soviet rule, immigrating as a child to the U.S. where her family settled in New York City. She received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, NY and is currently an Assistant Professor at Parsons: The New School for Design in New York City.

The exhibition is on view January 11, 2020 to May 3, 2020

The Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson (MOCA Tucson)

265 S. Church Ave. Tucson, AZ 85705

For more information a:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Submit Your Work

Learn more about how to be featured on our Top Ten List of Artists.