Janell James’ work is influenced by classical painting, realism, abstraction, impressionism and contemporary art. Intense observation of the natural world is at the core of her artwork. Painting the intangible qualities of nature, trees dominate her canvases and are depicted in her trademark flair for using vibrant and unexpected colors, bringing a fresh perspective and modern spin on the age old tradition of landscape art.
Utah born James has studied and worked independently for many years with some of the state’s most renowned artists and teachers at the University of Utah and ongoing workshops in abstraction, figurative, still life and landscape painting in the majestic setting of Helper, Utah. Commitment to her craft compelled James’ to explore the Classical Atelier method, modeled after the historic, private art studios of Europe. She’s completed an intensive Artist in Residency program at the Bay Area Classical Artists Atelier in Belmont, CA, and at Studio Escalier in Paris, France. She has exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions. Her work has been placed in many private and public collections nationally and internationally, including The Huntsman Cancer Foundation, Nordstrom, and City Creek Center, Salt Lake City, UT. Her work will be featured in the upcoming fall 2012 edition of Utah Style and Design. She is represented by A Gallery, Salt Lake City, and Coda Gallery, Palm Desert, CA. She lives and works in Salt Lake City.
My work is focused on the interplay between trees, sky and light. I’m most intrigued by a single tree waiting to be discovered, pressed against a big, contrasting sky. It’s a deep connection and intense observation of the natural world that influences my work. I don’t want to replicate exactly what I see, but express a random interpretation, painting the intangible qualities of nature through abstract shapes and patterns while simultaneously creating what is obvious to the viewer’s eye.
I’m interested in process as much as style. My work is informed by classical painting, realism and the qualities of impressionism and abstraction expressionism, yet rooted in the philosophies of contemporary art as evident in my vibrant, pop inspired color palette.
Painting different perspectives, the realism of my subject is apparent from a distance and upon closer examination the abstracted and geometric patterns reveal an entirely different composition. Using both unconventional and complimentary colors along with multiple layers of paint, I create depth and space that result in a visual and harmonious tension between what is seen and felt.
Ultimately my work is about the symbolism a tree bears of life, growth, being grounded; it’s about a deep desire for human connection in a hyper mobile, fast-paced world.
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