A gallery owner once wrote that I was “having a love affair with paint.” So many days immersed in paint—on my clothes, on my skin, under my nails. Years go by as I watch other artists jump happily from one discipline to another but I’m still entranced, still infected. I’m not having an affair—paint is my true love.
As the paint on my palette changes depending on time, humidity or other environmental factors, I get a sense that it’s alive. My goal is to transfer that life onto the canvases I create.
Working with saturated color is my natural anti-depressant and stretching the palette to ‘louder’ brights and playful metallics has been my most recent challenge.
Taming intense color is a limited proposition. I put aside what I think I know and allow myself to become a conduit for this ancient primal force. Unease leads to awe as I relinquish control and tap into color’s pulse, speed and vibrating musicality –the frustrated musician within me playing notes of pigment with my brush.
This series began in 2005 and I’m still loving the diptych as a backdrop for my practice of weaving color.
Multi-layered compositions such as these require interplay of background and foreground, threading the dancers in and out until the wall between the panels, and even the willing viewer, become part of the stage.
The space left between the diptychs is a metaphor for the constant interruptions of modern life. Technology makes us reachable at all times and responsibilities often remove the option of leaving the grid. Like electronic taps on the shoulder, calls, texts and emails carve any task into a series of plodding stops and restarts. These divided, yet unified works, are meant to illustrate our ability to overcome the discord—to change the perspective and eventually see the gaps as part of the whole.
I began this series in October of 2008, during “Breast Cancer Awareness Month”. The pink ribbons associated with this cause, and my personal relationships with women who have struggled with this illness, had me thinking about exploring pink and its color relations.
The challenge was to take pinks out of the stereotypical association with all that is frivolous or 'saccharin' and bring it into the realm of the sophisticated. As I delved into pink and her irrepressible cohort, red, I found myself in a joyful place of gardens, life and the carefree exuberance of childhood. Since that time, the series has had me exploring other palettes as well.
Stopping By Woods
These works actually grew out of an attempt to shun the landscape.
I stumbled upon “Woods” by experimenting with my striations on the vertical, rather than the horizontal arrangements I was creating for the diptychs. When images of the woods began to emerge, I decided to follow that lead and the result was very definite, expressive landscapes that still allowed the palette to come forward as the overall subject matter. The title is an homage to Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” which speaks to the quiet observance of the simple beauty that’s often around us if we only take time to observe it. I realized this was the same way I feel about color – and how nature’s abundant color feeds my soul.
Texting While Painting
In this series, I began layering paper scraps and vinyl letters into my work to examine marketing messages that pervade our culture.
Between email offers and junk mail, I am bombarded daily by come-ons for this offer or that, promising to give me the best, the cheapest or the opportunity of a lifetime. Why not take advantage of these exclusive offers? After all, I'm pre-approved. One day, instead of being annoyed by the latest pile of junk mail, I looked at it differently—as a bottomless source of free art supplies.
These marketing messages are so ubiquitous, we digest them constantly without thinking, or even noticing their demands for our attention. It made me think the so-called 'invisible hand of the market' is now the exact opposite...'the inescapable hand of the market.'
In the end, I still want to create works of solid aesthetic merit, that are alive with color, energy and rhythm —pieces that have "bounce".
© 2018 Janet Bothne – All Rights Reserved