Jan Johnson
Flora and Fauna

Paintings about nature and representation

February 25 – April 2 2011

“Nature and I are two” -Oscar Wilde

This series of paintings reflects dual perceptions of nature-the experienced and the represented, the wild and the domestic, micro and macro. After moving to Portland Oregon in the spring of 2002, I was deeply attracted to the unruly and prolific gardens of the Northwest, the huge cedars and sequoias, the camellias, geometric Monkey Puzzle tree branches, curling ferns. I photographed eagles, herons, my Italian Greyhound, and brought big branches of dogwood into the studio.

During the same period, I was moved by varied representations of nature, including the bejeweled depiction of a bee on the gown of a Madonna, a beautifully crafted silver piglet poised on a serving tray, a book on extinct birds. Meditating on nature as pattern, craft, illustration, guidebook, icon or precious object came naturally to someone who most likes to camp out in a bookstore or museum, and lead to a desire to combine flora and fauna in compositions that would express natural forms from an admiring and inevitable distance.