How does it go down
your way over
there far from
here distance imposed
is greatly sensed.

Do you sink or
bouyant head
spinning as questioning
rocks your core
I reinvent the wheel.

Like Sisyphus pushed
strong armed strongmen face
retribution for lust for
self- aggrandizing

Do you keep your
balance in purity
fatalism or
surrender to
I just work.

Are you well on
your raft alone or
befriended in touch
with only yourself
It’s a new one for me!



– Diane Sophrin
  Vermont. 8.15.20



click here to open in PDF format










No plot here
no conspiracy though
it could’ve been probably
just good use of

man made himself
what are you so
surprised at this is
why homo sapiens
created god

suffering at their own hand
as only humans can
making a dive now
for chaos for ugly

the good ones
merely careless
while the roaring crowd
relishing declination
gives delusion its approval.

But I meant to talk
not about baseness
but the undone world
as I knew it rebuilt
with some degree of care
on ashes of past conflagration

now like a phoenix a golem
molded out of breath and ash
mixed to paste with every sort of fluid



– Diane Sophrin
  Vermont. 8.26.20



click here to open in PDF format



“The center doesn’t hold – accumulated works and thoughts”




Enough! Things pile up – the center doesn’t hold! If all this new visual and written work doesn’t get put out soon, the festering patina of time will seal, will bury everything.

The last post was, remarkably, in late July. How much has happened since then, seemingly with break-neck speed. Even as I write, things move faster and faster. I can’t possibly keep up. Paradoxically my own life seems to crawl at a snail’s pace, or stand suspended out of time entirely.

In the midst of everything going on in the world, I work. A new ongoing series, Spheres of Destiny & Variants and the related Scrolling Spots follow along the same parameters as the other recent double-sided assemblages; the Swingeing Spots, Big Looming Assemblages, Spots of Retribution and Dark Spots & Black Holes. Why this particular focus and process persists I am not sure. It offers itself, it suggests, or with stronger imperative, demands. I oblige. The Scrolling Spots can be seen here, and the Spheres of Destiny & Variants, here.

At any rate, one round diptych of the Spheres of Destiny series has already made its way to Budapest in my stead, currently exhibited in the HORIZONHORIZONT group exhibition of the Society of Hungarian Painters (Magyar Festők Társasága).

The Spherical Fragments, a brief return to collage for another MFT exhibition entitled PART>WHOLE / RÉSZ>EGÉSZ, were completed in one burst, sent to Budapest, the exhibition opening October 16th!

Aside from regular submersion in escalating horrific news reports (can it get any worse? – yes it does, yes it will!) I have been reading poems – more Bertolt Brecht, now Octavio Paz, returning to József Attila to find poems somehow overlooked, revisiting W.B. Yeats. Passing as needed through the tortuous, exquisite route of translation by brilliant poets and writers, these words offer courage and co-conspiracy. Bridging decades, generations, centuries, they are antidotes to isolation and despair. Locked in solitary conversation with these great voices from the past, I continue to put down my own words, which can be seen here.

Ending now with Octavio Paz and József Attila . Very different, yet both speaking of what needs to be said. Next time, Brecht’s What use is goodness?, Paz, J.A. and some Yeats.

– Diane Sophrin
  Vermont (10.4.20)



PDF format here.


On the Pavement

On the pavement a small puddle was blinking
as shadows began to occupy the streets.
In their restless dreams sparrows were chirping
but then silently hung on to their twigs.
The sleeping ones will always cling
harder than the awake, ready to take flight.
People, streetcars, taxis were bustling
just like the instincts and the mind.

I kissed a girl on her mouth in a doorway,
then I mixed in among the crowd again,
Only to separate from it once more, so that
this poem could crystalize from life’s pain.
At last I see, after long meditation,
my animal sorrow is understandable
human grief that finds its scintillation
even in advertising displays.

Attila József

Winter Night. Selected Poems by Attila József
translated from the Hungarian by John Bátki
Oberlin College Press. 1997

PDF format here:




Spheres of Destiny & Variants



This new, ongoing body of work, Spheres of Destiny & Variants follows along the same parameters as the other recent double-sided assemblages; the Swingeing Spots, Big Looming Assemblages, Spots of Retribution and Dark Spots & Black Holes. Why this persists I am not sure! It offers itself, it suggests, or with stronger imperative, demands. I oblige. Click on any image for larger images of each group seen sequentially: first, the Spheres of Destiny and below them, the Variants:


The configuration/reconfiguration of the assemblages comes next, along with the photographic documentation. This aspect of the work is maddening. The impulse to track, know and document these groupings is compelling, unforgiving. Perhaps the final manifestation must wait for exhibition, when the pieces will naturally suggest, demand and determine specific assemblages – or perhaps not even then!

At this point in time, one double-sided diptych Spheres of Destiny I and II has made its way to Budapest in my stead, currently exhibited in the HORIZONT juried exhibition of the Society of Hungarian Painters (Magyar Festők Társasága). In fact it was the exhibition theme which led to this format of spherical paper diptych with central horizontal gap.

Here in Vermont, the work on this series is ongoing – both in terms of continued grouping and documentation of new assemblages, and the making of more new pieces. The newest, still in their early stages of formation, are large, boulder-like, sisyphean.








The work with spherical forms continues – in this case a pause from engagement with movable parts offering a return to long, vertical scroll-like panels. Again the work is double-sided, especially relevant to the scrolling functionality of this piece.

This long single paper panel was stitched together and gessoed several years back, while working on four-panel acrylic paintings. At the time I was particularly interested in the stitching methods used in Torah scrolls which minimized the visibility of stitches themselves. Unused and waiting, the prepared, empty scroll now presented a perfect surface for continuing the work with Spots and Spheres.

Presenting itself as a piece to possibly be viewed flat – read in an act of scrolling and unscrolling, the work process continued as before. Two small wetted pages blackened with dense chalk spheres were repeatedly pressed into the acrylic-stained scroll, transferring the black forms in a rough offset process. The scroll was then rolled up and the motion and pressure of rolling created a somewhat linear-reading sequence of marks and forms. These two images are front and verso of the one 67 inch scroll.


And here, the two water-soaked small pages with black chalk circles – remnants of the work process, but visually suggestive elements in themselves.


Black Scrolling Spots - 1
Black Scrolling Spots - 2









What good do they do
these colors
these circles
like the sun
an eclipse that’s it!
eclipsing all that is right and good
leaving just the ghost of a black hole
don’t look straight at it!
the truth will scorch
your eyes
in the papers
stained and puckered
what to do with the eye’s delight
when the heart bleeds.



– Diane Sophrin
  Vermont (7.16.20)



click here to open in PDF format



Swingeing Spots



What are these circles and why do I keep doing them? They began in 2019 with the Black Spots of Winter and I have been working with black circles, spots and holes ever since. These Swingeing Spots, are the latest. As with the Dark Spots and Black Holes, Spots of Retribution and Big Looming Assemblages, these newest two-sided pieces are arranged, layered and photographed, creating what are for now, impermanent groupings.

Click on any image below for larger images seen sequentially.


“Time, in the Great Collapse – new works, thoughts and poems”





Time, in the middle of the Great Collapse, to post new works and another small poem entitled When the Heart Bleeds; also, some thoughts on Budapest artists, contemplations on fascism and more Brecht.

The new works, Swingeing Spots, can be seen here. What are these circles and why do I keep doing them? They began in 2019 with the Black Spots of Winter and I have been doing these ever since. Am I taking the easy way out by continuing to follow this thread? I do see the obvious referencing of natural structure, reflecting an ailing nature. Now we are at one with nature. But is that enough?

The form and content begin with a simple attraction of the eye. It’s the eye that guides now, not arbitrary yet not consciously meaningful. Is it just automatic form-making? I don’t really need to know this. The point is that I have neither used up these forms nor this particular media, although under different circumstances other forms, other media could do the job equally well. Not arbitrariness but fluency?

But why this apparent invisibility of the hand? There is no brushwork, little gestural mark-making. The application of color and tone, the creation of texture are all created by basic printing processes – offset, relief, stencil, transfer. Is this legitimate? Why not? The essence of a print being pressure rather than duplication (although that sometimes occurs), in this case simple pressure of the hand itself is where manual expression comes into play, the physical assertion of a human hand at work. I am satisfied.

It’s been nearly two years since visiting the Budapest studio of László Alföldi (here) and Éva T. Horvath (here). Éva’s powerful relief collages and 3D constructions and László’s nuanced paper prints both left a strong impression. I was particularly drawn to László’s technique of layering multiple sheets of freshly inked papers under pressure, then peeling the layers apart to create compelling visual textural effects. I don’t know if I have unconsciously revisited his process in my newest work or if I, following my own independent thread, have found myself in an overlapping spot of commonality. I don’t really need to know this either. It’s enough, I think, to point with acknowledgement and appreciation in his direction.

Suddenly and inevitably the mind swings without warning from Budapest back to Vermont – and to what has become My American House Arrest. Being forced to cancel the fall flight (the fourth cancellation) with no idea of plan or future stuns. I have yet to inform my Hungarian friends and colleagues but that will happen next. Alternative ideas for my fall Book of Chaos exhibition at the Nyitott Műhely (Open Workshop) emerge slowly and must be explored.

Meanwhile, It’s always there – an imperative to write about this mammoth realignment of reality. Navigating this new and strange present continuous, absorbing this many-pronged assault consumes an undefinable portion of the psyche. Last night, exhausted by the day’s events, a sense of being unmoored took over. The mind churns in the substrate, trying ceaselessly to comprehend, define and respond appropriately in both personal and political contexts.