Until I saw the wall of Jane LowBeer's small oil paintings of toothpaste tubes, I had no idea that toothpaste tubes could take on a romantic quality. The rich colours and captivating forms create an intimacy and sensuality that I would not normally associate with an everyday object like the toothpaste tube.
I had to follow up my earlier conversation with Jane LowBeer to find out more:
Ingrid: In your artist statement, you mention that the toothpaste tubes heralded a return to painting for you. Why did you chose toothpaste tubes to return to painting?
Jane: Toothpaste tubes are everyday household items. An empty toothpaste tube is flexible and can be bent or twisted into a variety of shapes (although some brands are much more malleable than others!). The painterly possibilities of two toothpaste tubes seemed perfect for the intimacy of a small canvas.
Ingrid: How long was your hiatus from painting?
Jane: I use brushes with the monotypes in my printmaking practice but it has been about ten years since I used a brush, oil paint and canvas.
Ingrid: In our previous conversation, you said that lately you have been using a lot of colours to make up black. What is it about black and white that you find appealing?
Jane: In the monotypes, I put the plate through the press multiple times building up the layers of colours. It is interesting to see a black made from a layer of orange then violet compared to a black made with red and turquoise. There is the quality of drawing that I like in black and white.
Ingrid: Does that come from your printmaking background?
Jane: Not really. A very long time ago, I did viscosity printmaking which is all about colour. I mostly use the same inks for the monotypes.
Ingrid: Your every day objects seem to have a landscape monumentality. Is there an underlying symbolism to you?
Jane: Perhaps...small is beautiful.
Ingrid: Will you continue with this series?
Jane: Yes, I ran out of time in preparing for this show and would like to paint a tubes of toothpaste all jumbled together...an orgy of toothpaste tubes.
Ingrid: There seems to be a shared affinity for black and white imagery with Sung Ja Kim. Was this deliberate or happenstance?
Jane: It was a happy happenstance. I am a new member of LOOP so I had no idea who I was paired with.
The show of Jane LowBeer's work continues this weekend and through to Sunday, February 20th, 2010. Visit Loop Gallery at 1273 Dundas Street West in Toronto or see more of Jane's work on her website here.