Janet Nathan has extremely distinguished lineage, culturally speaking. Her art comes with great independence of spirit and an intense beauty of its own at the end of a series of separate but cross-linking events in the evolution of sculpture and painting and their fusion together in recent times.
Janet Nathan’s extraordinarily beautiful and original assemblages exist serenely in their own space and light, beyond any obvious category.
Her work is somewhere between painting and sculpture. It is really sculpture, then Nathan is extending the idea of sculpture. Her art is constructed, built-up, in an additive and then subtractive process.
What Nathan so elegiacally conjures up is a sense of place, of time of day or evening, night very often, that is also no-place and, finally, beyond any defining constrictions of time or season. Her sense of ‘place’ discloses itself like a dramatic event: a happening, quite abstract but romantically loaded and steeped in the atmosphere and the mood of strong feeling. This is a passionate form of art, made by a strong artist.Nathan’s creation, is an exterior world to which she brings an interior sense of almost ritualised intimacy: her remembered place is also an experienced formal and emotional situation. With a spare but rich use of colour, and deliberately restricted means, she is creating a powerful kind of pictorial sculpture, severely reflective, which goes far beyond direct description and yet, mysteriously, avoids any vestige of commemoration or nostalgia, like all the most potent and radical modern art.
Janet Nathan was born in London and studied at St Martin’s School of Art. She lives and works in London.
- Extracts from an essay by Bryan Roberston 1995