“My artwork begins with drawing, thoughts and feelings become tools to hone the mark-making. The colour and decorative content is intuitive and I love the process of manipulating the colours upon the surface, immersed in a world of colour. I add to this, new fragments blended from my imagination and memory. The magic of the unseen, embracing the fragility and strength of this life, for that reason my art has always been a personal journey. These impressions have been explored and anchored in a highly personal narrative about a sense of place, associated memory and emotion for each carefully composed frame. Working for the first time onto canvas has been both revelation and liberation, responding to the ways in which different materials behave on different canvas grounds and developing that dialogue; each piece is distinctive, a unique response and process. ”
Jan Gardner was born and brought up in North Wales and spent much of her early years wandering the lanes and hills around her home. It was here that the light, space and colours that inhabit her work first became an influence. Drawing on these memories and experiences of special places and her later travels in Europe, Morocco and the U.S.A.; she crafts vivid and atmospheric works. Colours that fly in from emotion and passion, relaying a deep connection with the varied, differing landscapes from which they evolve.
The life affirming quality of her work is gleaned from her desire to look further, texture, mark-making and layering becomes apparent, a legacy from her time spent at Winchester School of Art. One of the most noticeable aspects of Jan`s work is her use of rich, magical colours, subtle nuances with the range of water-based media, something that has pre-occupied her for many years, linking the response to pure colours and the spiritual. This free and fluid approach is firmly based on field work, observation and visual note-taking, where source material, objects and forms are gathered as reference materials, then sensitively filtered to contribute to the rhythm and composition of a new piece.
Sustained self-critique means Jan is highly articulate in describing the process and act of making, detailed technique and mark-making , and the deeper emotional dimensions of her work. Fascinated by the challenge that each of us sees colour differently, yet each engages with colour emotionally, her engagement with colour is both lens and lynchpin and this nuanced understanding of perception, emotion and association underpins the marks and choices of her process at a deeper level.
The historical and contemporary use of colour within the artistic practice of the Fauves, Impressionists, Expressionists, and Scottish Colourists has also been an inspiration and influence. Unsurprisingly, given this passion for and belief in colour’s powerful qualities, Jan’s educational work is also a powerful source of inspiration. Working with groups via residencies, in often challenging circumstances, and where people may never have really engaged before with colour, her belief in people’s latent creative capacity is regularly inspired by their rapt and sustained engagement, and by the free and confident colour pieces produced by all ages and abilities in astonishingly short periods of time.
In 2007 Jan was awarded an Arts Council of Wales research grant which enabled her to explore the source of her palette and the ancient and contemporary manufacture of pure pigment in Milan, Geneva and New York. In 2012 was awarded grant from the Arts council of Wales towards a new body of work for a major touring solo starting from Oriel Gallery, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, Flintshire, north Wales. This major new body of work toured the U.K including venues in Scotland, England, culminating in the tours conclusion in Oriel Ynys Mon, Llangefni, Anglesey.
Jan was elected as a member of The Royal Cambrian Academy, Conwy in 2015. Jan`s work is held in private, public and corporate collections in the U.K, mainland Europe and across the world.
Winchester School of Art-:B.A. Honours
University of Hertfordshire : Post- Art Therapy