"Animal Puppets", 25" x 31". Mixed media on paper.


Chicago Tribune review
By Alan Artner, Tribune art critic

Jane Rosen's paintings, sculptures and reliefs at the Gwenda Jay/Addington Gallery are mostly of animals she sees daily around her home in Northern California. She does not think of them, however, as being representational, though they are portraits of being, that is, of a fuller state of existence than the one lived by humankind.

Poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote about this. Animals are not self-conscious. Hence, little intervenes between them and the world. When they watch a thing, they are fully present in the watching. We, on the other hand, are distracted by our own hyperconsciousness. The goal of a number of spiritual disciplines is, in a sense, to get back to the animals' "purer" state.

Rosen often will pour ink or coffee onto a sheet of paper, then put it outside, where raccoons or oth er small animals may leave tracks on it. Then she will use the sheet to record images. But they apparently are not premeditated or edited. The artist's first impression, which more often may begin from a sound than a mental picture, is the one she seeks to stay truest to.

But art intervenes. So when she hits on, say, the image of a bird, it may arise in conjunction with bird forms by Constantin Brancusi. This doesn't happen often, but when it does, Rosen's personal response to heightened being is enriched rather than distracted or diminished.


This article first appeared in The Chicago Tribune on May 18th, 2007

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