Soulful Stripes: The Abstract Work of Jane Davies
The work of Jane Davies can be most closely likened to a dance. She works with color and line to create quilts of juxtaposing surface that blend together to create a cohesive whole. The relationships between the colors and the abutting of form against form build to an astonishing crescendo of movement that one can look at for hours without having seen enough. Her most recent Stripes series plays with the gray area where form becomes idea, digging into this purely visual language in order to create something that transcends barriers and circumstance; something that can be uniquely appreciated by anyone who sees it.
Jane began her artistic career as a potter in the early 1990s, and this creative urge to get her hands dirty never left. She transitioned to collage and mixed-media work and has continued to throw herself joyfully into this style of creation ever since. Throughout it all, Jane never lost touch with the love of the textural - taking inspiration from the natural as well as the man-made forms of the world around her. The movement of the human hand through the world supplies a starting place of observation off of which she builds and layers, taking color and movement and transposing them into a formal language all her own.
"Sonoran Dream #5" "Common Thread #9" "Sonoran Dream #6"
Jane describes her process as a dance between "letting things happen and making things happen" - a dice-roll with chance as much as a carefully choreographed dance. She often begins with a starting place for an exploration - whether that be color relationships, a specific pallette. or a desire to dig more deeply into variances of form and line - a question which can be answered through the act of creation. From there Jane blocks in a vague idea of a layout; what colors will go where, how they will play off one another. This period of the process is fluid, a set-up for what is to come, the form and meaning of a piece taking careful shape.
There are several layers to these stripe paintings, several different passes that allow Jane to define edges and add gradients or texture to different colors. At this point Jane says that the pieces take on a life of their own - evoking certain moods or places, people. She writes that during this period "...they begin to speak to me.Then I begin to speak through the paintings.This mysterious transition from language to
meaning, from playing with color to playing with ideas and expression, this is what keeps me coming back to the process of painting".
"Sonoran Stripes #3"
Jane is not someone who is content to be a lone artist; an integral part of her artistic process is teaching. She runs several popular workshops and artist retreats out of her studio in Vermont, offering classes on everything from painting to collage to how to simply let go and let art happen. Since 2010 she's taken the project nation-wide alongside writing several books on the topic of art and the creative process as well as producing several instructional DVDs. Jane's work is a joyful exploration of pure creation; engaging with artmaking in its most formal sense as well as an almost meditative or spiritual practice. Her pieces create an almost musical experience, the blending of colors and the integrity of the lines speaking a language that is as familiar as it is abstract.