Janna studied Printmaking at Ilam School of Fine Art in Christchurch, New Zealand and graduated in 2004 with a BFA and BSc. in Linguistics.  Since then, she has traveled extensively, undertaking residencies in the UK, Europe and the US as well as exhibiting regularly through Seed Gallery in Auckland and The Arthouse in Christchurch. Her work combines media and incorporates elements of print, paint, fabric, ceramics and more recently sculptural installations. She is currently in the second year of an MFA in Printmedia at the School of the Art Insitute of Chicago as a recipient of a Fulbright General Graduate Award.

Personal Statement

I think of my work as a series of investigations into formal contrasts and arguments. The idea of fluidity and containment is consistently present and I am driven to create a feeling of controlled chaos, tending towards dividing my work into distinct play-zones. Knots, tubes, folds and stacks are my forms of choice; experimenting with the tension, stress and gravity of each object. Thematically, the embrace of and pleasure in materials and a strong sense of playfulness, humour and hilarity are key.

My work is tactile and exuberant in form and colour; printed and dyed fabric, puff pigment, ceramics, hot glue and inflatables are among my favoured materials. I set out to simultaneously confound and delight the viewer with objects in ambiguous physical states and unexpected material and pattern combinations. At times, I disguise or mask strident colours as a form of camouflage, or purposefully place them next to muted, fleshy forms to heighten their intensity. Eva Hesse, Lynda Benglis and Judy Pfaff's work and unique approach to making are strong influences.

My recent ceramic pieces focus on the contrast between fluid and rigid forms. Sculpting with clay is a highly meditative process for me and I view the resulting pieces as sketches leading towards larger two or three-dimensional works. There is an inexplicable quality to their construction that goes back to a childhood curiosity with stacking and layering. I am also exploring the idea of architectural failure; how far I can go with the clay before it collapses and pushing the limits of porcelain's strength.

I am constantly assessing the arbitrary and essential qualities of each piece and strive to create artificial objects that feel alive. Primarily, I am calling for audiences to experience the pleasure of aesthetics and consider the pleasure of the aesthetic experience.


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.