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Janet Stafford

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Natural History 2, 2007 Oil On Canvas 21" X 21" © janet stafford 2007
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Natural History 7
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Natural History 11
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Natural History 10
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Natural History 12
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Natural History 8
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Natural History 9
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Natural History 6
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Natural History 5
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Natural History 4
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Natural History 1
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Natural History 3
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Natural History 13
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Natural History 14
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Natural History 15
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Natural History 16
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Natural History 17
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Quick Facts
Birthplace
Texas
Lives in
New York
Works in
New York
Schools
Tags
oil/canvas, nature, Tree, series, photographic landscape
Address
Statement

I have always worked in series—streams of thoughts and desires common to us all, represented by images. I see the images as signs of the material world, intimations of the nonmaterial.

At first my series were narrative, encompassing quotidian aspects such as romantic love and building construction. And I considered ideas—enlightenment, science, memory. Now I am thinking about nature and our planet, as so many of us are. My intention is to paint about life and the inevitable beauty, portal to the sublime.

For my series, I think a long time about what I want to talk about, then I photograph that idea and use those photographs as the basis for eight to twenty paintings, all of which have typically been on one or two supports. The series I am working on now, Natural History, is a little different. It comprises 33 separate canvases.

The Natural History paintings can function as a sign of nature, and one painting can signify the entire series. They can be shown by being scanned and enlarged, as a public presentation, or made smaller for private use, like a personal icon.

I have been working on the Natural History series about nature for a while. One of the ideas behind Natural History is to call attention to the beauty and to the value of that beauty, even though the paintings themselves are highly artificial. I think about art such as Chinese landscape painting, a kind of painting that stood for a pathway to enlightenment through the contemplation that nature encourages. The paintings were codified, referential, reverential.

I am trying to point to a good thing here. To present thoughtful art, to open things up, to carve another channel for insight. Making meaning.

From time to time I make related work, such as wall-size CP Trees, very small paintings on paper, and abstract nature-based pieces. I propose to continue working on Natural History concurrently with the other, less elaborate pieces, such as 2016’s Magnolia paintings. This series came about after a trip to the South, where I admired the flower of the Southern Magnolia tree. At home here, I got road maps of the South, gessoed chosen pieces of the maps to four-by-six-inch watercolor paper, and painted directly on the maps. If you look closely, you can see the maps underneath.