Jane is a mid career artist, turning away from graphic design in 2000. Jane’s contemporary painting is based on landscape and seascape around the world, primarily Devon and Cornwall, England. However, as important as the original location is the narrative of the human condition that runs through all of her work. She starts a painting referencing the chosen location, then unconsciously at first, emerge emotions that are her life, or those of the world at the time – bravery, striving, passion, conflict, freedom, hope, light, integrity, love – and a dialogue begins. Her work is often described as ‘powerful’ – what you are seeing is a location but also her emotions and feelings in the world, at that moment; she hopes it resonates with her audience. Jane is a South West Academician and holds an MA Arts and Ecology and BA Fine Art (Hons). She lives and works near Bovey Tracey.
When she began her ‘proper’ artistic journey in 2000, and wanted to paint. She did not know why she wanted to paint, only knew she did. For as long as she can remember she has drawn, painted and made things, her late father influenced her hugely although he was no great artist (although he could have been); he knew the importance and enjoyed the experience of art.
But instead of painting, during her studies she made films, had conversations, wrote a bit, played around a bit, did collaborative stuff. The Arts and Ecology MA she completed in 2008 left her a bit of an anarchist, with a small a. She does have strong views about a lot of injustices in this world, a hatred of people who treat others, and this earth, so unkindly.
She produced some art on serious subjects – the destruction of the UK dairy farming industry, (installation, film and conversation, Milked Dry, 2007); the equally destructive fishing of our waters that will deplete the oceans of fish for ever if we don’t do something, (installation and film, Fishy Business, 2010) and with food following and the exploitation of workers around the globe (dinner, installation and sound piece, An Antipodean Expedition, 2008).
The more she researched, the more upset she became and her art was not her friend anymore.
In 2010 she started to draw and paint more seriously, but was floundering. What she wanted to know was – what did she need to say and, more importantly, why? In 2013 she started to find a voice, and her narrative and reason for painting. She needs her art to give her solace in her world – it is somewhere she retreats to and looks forward to entering, it is a means of communicating that there is still beauty in the world, it is not all bad. She is fully aware of what is happening – but she tries her best to give something lovely back to people who are her audience, but actually as importantly, to her! We don’t need to live with the horror every day. Joseph Beuys was instrumental in a way of communicating that she aspires to, he founded Social Sculpture. In her own small way – if she can influence a mood to be lighter, to encourage someone to look more wonderingly at the colour of the landscape and celebrate their justifiable place within it, and they pass that feeling on, then her job is done. Joseph Beuys talked of the butterfly theory – Jane can’t change the world any more than you can, but she can perhaps try to make it a bit better, a bit more joyful.
So, Jane hopes you enjoy her work – the textures (rough and smooth), the colours (gloomy and bright), the underlying narrative (life is tough but also wonderful).
© Jane Hodgson
I feel lost in the great big world
“Art can be sympathetic to our fear of being lost in a complex world by making a smaller and more contained world that we can explore. … The desire to turn dangerous things in to toys isn’t trivial. It’s a way of taming the world – and it’s what art (among other things) does. It domesticates the wildness that might otherwise overwhelm us. By the simple, lovely trick of changing the scale, we make ourselves a bit bigger in relation to our problems”.
Only idiots like pretty, sweet things
” Beautiful flowers aren’t a way of avoiding the tougher facts; they are a consolation… the mood that beauty naturally encourages – is a good state of mind to be able to access, given the number of problems we have to face. A taste for pretty art isn’t a denial of the troubles of the world; it shows a wise awareness of the extent of suffering and a concern for bolstering oneself against despair”.
Unknown author of quotes at The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam 2014
Barnett Newman, Joseph Beuys, Yoko Ono and David Hockney are among the artists who influence all that I do, every day.
“I hope that my painting has the impact of giving someone as it did me, the feeling of his own totality, of his separateness, of his own individuality, and at the same time of his connection to others, who are also separate… I think you can only feel others if you have some sense of your own being.”
Newman Barnett, Barnett Newman, Selected Writings and Interviews, California: University of California Press, 1990, p257-8