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Jan Smart: “Brandy and Summer Gloves”

Roche Bobois
Vancouver, BC, Sept 14 – Oct 11

Jan Smart – Gentleness Jan Smart, Gentleness (2002), oil and gold leaf on panel, [Roche Bobois, 716 West Hastings St, Vancouver BC, Sept
14-Oct 11]

Jan Smart’s bittersweet, large-scale fruit and flower paintings were inspired by the Dutch vanitas painters of the 17th Century, but have all the contemporary signifiers of the latter-20th Century. To borrow a phrase from an earlier exhibit, Smart “re-contextualizes Renaissance visual language in a contemporary Canadian context”.

In the visual arts, vanitas describes a type of still-life painting which is intended to remind viewers of the transience of created objects, of pleasure, even of life itself – in short, the “vanity” of our corporeal perception. Like American Pop artist Audrey Flack, who painted lush and dense photorealist still-life arrangements during the 70s and 80s, Smart exploits cool illusionistic aesthetics. Her “humungous,” impersonal images have a movie-size scale that takes them beyond intimacy.

Jan Smart is an exciting new graduate to watch. Since the completion of her Bachelor of Fine Arts at ECIAD in 2000, her work has appeared in no less than 12 solo and group shows. The current exhibit both enhances the beauty she finds in nature and “gilds the lily” with the application of gold leaf.

© Mia Johnson


 Thu, Sep 19, 2002