From the beginning, drawing and painting have enabled Jana to make sense of her world by offering the means of touching, without touching, both people and tactile objects. Light gives life and she is driven to capture that light to understand and connect. Through her work she explores themes of identity, character, women’s places, social hierarchy, social inclusion and exclusion, cultural biases and prejudices.
Jana approaches her work through the influences of Italian Renaissance painting, American social realism and the east coast regionalist realism, while re-positioning herself with both a modern and historical perspective. She captures detail within a strictly edited framework so the viewer is encouraged to focus on the visual conversation.
Clothing and textiles play a vital role in Jana’s compositions and form the base of her art practice.
Jana works primarily in acrylic, gouache and pencil.
PORTRAITS and PERSONAL EFFECTS SERIES
While the dominant subjects of Jana’s work remains within the still life and figurative traditions, she considers each composition in the Portrait Series to present an archetype or character; each with an emotional quality and disposition captured in the moment, vulnerable and exposed. These two series focus on the language of clothing and personal objects; as they simultaneously reveal and ask questions. We speak more languages than our mother tongue, without conscious thought; we tell who we are with expression, gesture and thought, the language of clothing often speaking first.
LIFE ON THE LINE SERIES
Expanding on the use of clothing to represent iconic identities, Jana positions clotheslines in challenging situation; from stormy skies to living rooms. This juxtaposition begs questions regarding identity, vulnerability, and expectations, considering how physical possessions possibly confuse or even crowd our lives.
In this series Jana ventures further into the language of cloth, through the critical element of the obscured body. Here, surface and substance collide while communicating the ‘social self’ of both viewer and objective self. What is not shown is most important. This self is left fully to the interpretation of the viewer. The work elicits often contradictory and confused emotions based on personal, cultural and political memories, allowances and fears; often misunderstood and possibly even unjustified. Hence, the beauty of the work can be simultaneously uncomfortable.
The fabric serves as physical and social cover, offering protection, expression, social connection and disconnection, conformity, social and religious values, isolation and even ambition. Her Shroud work is her way of asking questions about society and expressing ideas about social interaction.