Diana Heise’s work has been exhibited galleries and festivals internationally, including at the Brooklyn Museum, the Film Anthology Archives and Soho20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY. She is also a recipient of awards such as a Performance Art Fund Grant from the Franklin Furnace Inc, an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant as well as a Presidential Fellowship at the American University in Cairo.
She has spoken about her work in venues such as the Parsons School of Art and Design, the H&R Block Artspace and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. After receiving a research grant from Vassar College, she published her research on Slovene art collectives in Global and Local Art Histories, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. She holds a MFA from the School of Visual Arts and a BA in Art History from Vassar College. She lives and works in Kansas City, MO and North Hero, VT.
My pursuits of knowledge tackle violence, domination and other aspects of aggression that humans are capable of inflicting. Perhaps a survival instinct, but, nonetheless, violence is a constant in human history and thus an area that requires attention. How do we, borrowing from Voltaire, “cultivate our garden” if this environment is not “the best of all possible worlds”? With this question in mind, my work studies fear-inspiring, violence-evoking aspects of our species, in order to highlight the fragile resilience of life. I create a visual language that simultaneously engages the grotesque and the beautiful, addressing the sources of such fear and celebrating methods of resisting domination. Through viewing my work, I aim to encourage catharsis, healing and sensations of freedom, beyond motivating the viewer’s shame.