A Class of Birds
September 10- October 30, 2010
Opening: Friday September 10, 5-7pm
Sears-Peyton Gallery is pleased to announce our forth exhibition of native New York artist Jane Rosen. A CLASS OF BIRDS is a new collection of free-standing and wall-mounted sculptures.
A lifetime of studying our symbiotic relationship with nature has allowed Jane Rosen to produce this stunning new body of work entitled A Class of Birds. Optimistic and transporting, these postmodern, posted sentinels, blown glass hawks and other birds, capture our attention as they gaze back at and beyond us from recycled limestone perches.
The poet Robinson Jeffers, who found, as did Jane the New Yorker, his place in the world not on his native East Coast but on the edge of California, shared Jane’s subject matter. At the end of “Vulture,” one of Jeffers’ best-known poems, he tells the raptor circling him that he’s come too soon then continues:
But how beautiful
he looked, gliding down
On those great sails; how beautiful he looked, veering away
in the sea-light over the precipice. I tell you solemnly
That I was sorry to have disappointed him. To be eaten by that beak and
become part of him, to share those wings and those eyes-
What a sublime end of one's body, what an enskyment; what a life
Jane’s A Class of Birds is an enskyment addressing the same profundities as Jeffer’s poems did: impermanence, the beyond, and in this age of new age what might be called beingness. Animals have been Jane’s subjects for years, but finally, ironically, it’s this most representational sculpture and tablature that are earning her the serious attention she long deserved. Here’s what critic Tracy Cochran wrote about a piece of Jane’s shown at the Danese Gallery: “Standing on a pedestal of limestone, was a “Goshawk” made by the artist Jane Rosen of hand blown, pigmented glass. Somehow Rosen captured wildness, fleetingness, and eternity all at the same time. This work of art helped me see that there is something beyond impermanence, something hawk eyes may see.”
Given, too, the precariousness of our and the planet’s existence, Jane’s work is sublimely political. These hand blown beings defy time, draw us, in the artist’s words, “to something other . . . It’s as if I made a class of attentive birds to replace my students as I sit in my studio chair listening to stories of life lived watchfully in the trees.”
Jane’s process of creating sculpture in glass is complex, collaborative, chemical—almost alchemical. Starting with a drawing, say of a posted Cooper’s hawk, she assembles a palette of glass powder then, painstakingly, creates the sculpture. Working with several gaffers, using fire and water, they shape, add pigment, heat and blow the glass until the sculptures take form.
I’ve been fortunate to know Jane Rosen both in New York, where she lived in a SoHo loft and taught at the School of Visual Arts, and in California where she resides on the crest of a green valley south of San Francisco. To truly see Jane Rosen’s sculpture one needs to look at her work the way one looks at a Rothko painting, quietly and without distraction. The reward is great.
-Tessa Wilcox, San Francisco, California, 2010
Essay is taken from a catalog for A CLASS OF BIRDS. The catalog is available for purchase.
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 -6, Saturday, 11- 6