Dianna Molzan: Brushes with Greatness

One of eight women artists who are storming the boys’ club.

Dianna Molzan

Dianna Molzan was greatly amused this past summer by a New York Times article proclaiming the return of scrunchies—but not for obvious reasons. Among the Washington State native’s better known works is an empty rectangular stretcher covered in soft folds of painted canvas that recall the ’80s hair accessory. “Bernini spent his life making stone look like fabric,” says Molzan, 42, from her studio in a 1920s bank building in L.A.’s Glassell Park neighborhood. “I wanted to do the opposite.” And therein lies the rub. One could argue that her “paintings,” created using conventional materials (canvas, wood, paint, brushes) in wholly unconventional ways, are, in fact, sculptures. It’s a debate that Molzan delights in. “I’m definitely a painter,” she asserts. “But it’s fun to see how far I can push things.” To that end, she has sliced and diced her painted canvases, allowing a wall behind to show through; unraveled a canvas so the threads hang slack like a necklace; swapped one half of a wooden stretcher with canvas, stuffed and painted to resemble a velvet rope; and slung globs of color at netting attached to a frame. “I’ve likened them to paintings in drag,” she says with a laugh. “I’m trying to do my bestimpersonation.”