Sunday, June 8, 2014

        a visit with Jane Low Beer

Where do you think your place is in the art world?


Certainly ‘my place’ is rooted in the art world of mid-twentieth-century Europe. It also has a lot to do with reactions I have had against the high powered art scene. Back in the early 80s I lived, worked and made art in New York City. I became disillusioned with the fickle and fashionable commercial art world.

With the influence of Bread Puppet Theatre and similar alternative art initiatives, I decided to make art to be seen and experienced outside of the gallery. I made all sorts of puppets for theatre, as well as large-scale parade figures, often using recycled materials.

      Part of my earlier reaction against the gallery scene had to do with the gargantuan scale of work. Consequently I chose to explore the idea of intimacy making masks, small objects and monotypes about small, hidden things.

This reaction with my instinct to work small is still part of my itinerary. Maybe it is time now –with this huge landscape before me to reexamine my objectives.

Can you describe your studio routine?

First thing, I turn on the radio (even though I might turn it off again soon). If I am in the middle of a project it’s easy to begin the day and I can quickly pick up where I left off.

Now that my current show (at the Art Gallery of Peterborough) is up I am again in the starting place, with too many possibilities and my focus falters. My studio is now cluttered with different beginnings. I am searching for the right metaphor that resolves something for me, (an unknown question), that launches the process and gives me momentum.

The view from your space is so expansive.  How does that influence your work?

It has not yet been two years that my studio is in the country. Previously, my studio was in the city, in my house,  and my work reflected the domestic details of that world. Having a studio with a huge view and a door to the view, both subtle and grand of nature, is indeed a challenge. It is as if I have turned myself inside out, floating with little ground as I try to digest this experience into making art.

What is your biggest challenge in creating work?

Getting to the studio. Life always intervenes: children, culture, friends, pleasures and responsibilities.
At this moment the gardens call: I want to dig in the earth, the patterns of plants; it’s hard to resist moving out into the landscape.

What are you currently reading, listening to or eating that is fueling your inspiration?

Fresh rhubarb and New Yorker magazine articles.


Thanks Jane for the studio visit!
To see more of Jane's work, check out:
also, her work is on exhibit at the Art Gallery of Peterbourgh until June 22 
and finally you read about her work on the blog Trout in Plaid.