Have we lost touch with the majesty of sharing life with the entire kingdom? By this kingdom we mean of course nature. The natural world is inseparable from us, we are completely part of it. Our human-centred world-view often leaves little space for the other beings we share the gift of life with. So they might not be able to have a conversation with us, they can communicate feelings and their presence can be a symbol for so much more. Animals have been a focus of art since the beginning of history, with their shapes taking clear form in works laid down long before any writing.
Back in those early days when possibly language-free humans with very little technology depicted animals, it was because they were large aspects of their lives. Either a source of food or a source of fear, these beings became part of the image-based culture we know appeared. Today though, the connection we have with the natural world is hidden behind electric lights and refrigerated food. Our oneness with nature and our shared connection of energy, nutrients, and space-time is occulted by television sets and loud music.
So to find an artist who is passionate about keeping this primordial fire burning, we have found a modern treasure. We have to remember that our psychological images of animals are brought to us by iconic symbols in books and on packaging. We see a few works of art and some beautifully taken photos and we mentally know what we are talking about. These dry and one-dimensional representations often fail to bring to life the true soul of the unique creature we are looking at.
Jan Harrison's work is different. Recently exhibited at 11 Jane Street Studio, New York, the wonderful and colourful impressionistic designs capture something much more than the animals biological structure and behaviour. We see that these beings are experiencing the world at their own level and with their own unique perspective. As we gaze into the eyes and faces of Jan's Jungian animals, we see that the ethereal quality of the work seems to nudge at something intuitive and sub-conscious. The aura like lighting and parliamentarisation of each image brings about the sense of connectivity and systemic dynamism that we know from our own lives.
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