May 4-29, 2021
Jana Demartini is a painter and printmaker who uses forms in nature as metaphor. Demartini lived under an authoritarian regime in the former Czechoslovakia, and escaped to the United States in 1965. She speaks of living in an authoritarian regime and how it impacts her work to this day. Under authoritarian rule, citizens are not allowed to speak their mind, so they learn to speak in code and read between the lines. Demartini uses elements from nature as metaphor. The viewer can look at her work literally, and see rock formations, or they can look more deeply and see her implied messages. “We create from our experiences. As we create we are exploring ourselves and our position in the world and our environment. It is an adventure.”
Demartini believes that “every artist’s process is their coping mechanism. It can be used as an escape from the troublesome reality”. Demartini used her studio practice fully in these very difficult times, albeit as a starting point. During the pandemic lock down, Demartini missed the beach, so she started creating it from memory. As she created the lovely, whimsical rocks which appear and disappear with the tide, a saying popped into her head: “hard as a rock.”
It dawned on her that rocks, the oldest, the most durable, solid feature of our world can symbolize endurance and loneliness in these difficult, stressful times.This series Demartini expresses her admiration for the stability of rocks. For this exhibition she has chosen pastels, a return or continuation of previous work about body-landscape.
Above: Jana Demartini, Play of Lights and Shadows - pastel on toned paper - 23” x 17”- 2021
ERIN ROBINSON GRANT
The Imagined World
Erin Robinson Grant is a new-media artist originally from Indiana. Her work deals with birth, death, and our potentially abject responses to it. She explores these themes through an amalgamation of video, animation, drawing, installation, performance, and computer interaction.
Robinson Grant began this body of work in March 2020 right as the pandemic sent us all into our small, quarantined worlds. On the one hand, the time and solitude allowed Robinson Grant to pursue new materials and ambitions in her work. On the other hand, the world was now filtered through screens and news stories. The pandemic was not the only challenge: historic forest fires and unexpected winter storms demonstrated nature’s immense power over us.
“As human beings, we tend to think of ourselves as neutral viewers of the natural world. As a result, we often conflate artistic representations of nature as simply “capturing” the inherent virtue and beauty of what is outside ourselves and committing it to paint, print, or sculpture. However, any depiction of what lies outside the self will invariably illustrate what lies within the recesses of the artist’s mind.”
- Erin Robinson Grant
Above: Erin Robinson Grant The Sorrow Tree, papier-mâché/foam clay/polymer, aluminum foil, 5 x 3 x 3 feet
Thursday, May 3, 4pm
Artist Talk: Jana Demartini
Livestreaming on the Blackfish Gallery Facebook Page.