2012 – Tanya Hartman – Albrecht-Kemper
Life Moving Through: Thoughts On The Paintings of Jane Booth
Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay Nature, published anonymously in 1836
To spend time on Jane Booth’s land, is to spend time within the artist’s most private property: that of her spirit. Each blade of grass, fluttering bird or shaft of light seems to have a concomitant and poetic habitation within her heart and intellect, translating into metaphors that express how life passes through us, altering us physically and emotionally; forcing us to transform.
The fact that the cycle of life imposes both splendor and sorrow upon us is a theme that preoccupies the artist. In recent years, she has experienced loss and injury. Her reaction has been to turn inward by looking outward. Hence, the clots and drips of paint in her work can reference rain and tears simultaneously. A luminous passage of color might refer to sunlight and to insight. An area of heavy impasto could imply both sodden earth and saturating grief. In Jane Booth’s body of work, there is no boundary between what is within the self and what lies outside the self. In this way, her painting is inherently reverent, and filled with awe for universal processes that elude easy definition.
In Jane Booth’s studio, each mark, however deliberate, is imbued with transience. She begins a painting by staining a large swath of canvas with pigment. Her choice of hue is intuitive, as are the flurry of spontaneous marks that follow. Next, in the artist’s words, “…the fine parts: sitting and studying for long stretches, tweaking and adjusting balance and movement, forming personality. It’s like layering intellect over feeling, or form over atmosphere or color field.” The resulting paintings, created in thin layers of acrylic, create spacious environments in which elements from material reality peaceably coexist with fragments of emotion and recall. The works are sensitive, subtle and honest. Often, they are aesthetically pleasing but always they are beautiful and truthful. Courageously, the artist does not care what the final painting looks like, as long as it, “tells the truth.” In looking at the finished works, I am again reminded of Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote in his essay Nature, “The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it.”
The survey of works that comprise this exhibition represent just a small percentage from the entirety of an enormous body of work. Jane Booth is an artist who is prolific. One may attribute her industry to the quest to speak an inner vision based in perception of emotion and passion for natural beauty. For ultimately, Jane Booth knows that there is no one truth to be told. Instead, what passes through us; the remembered fragment of conversation, the awareness of love, the originality of each horizon, leaf and breeze, inspires this artist to capture impermanence in pigment, and then to present the beauty of the imperfect image to the viewer as mutually shared treasure.