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Item Name: Painting
Title: Untitled
Maker: Janet Werner
Year: 1990
Country: Canadian
Materials: oil on canvas
Measurements: overall: 41 cm x 51.5 cm
ID Number: PC94.14
Legal Status: PERMANENT COLLECTION


Extended Label Info: Janet Werner is known for her fictional portraits that critique society’s ideals of youth and beauty, and the way people construct their social identities. However, her early works such as this study, “Untitled” are examples of her investigation into abstraction and the basic tools of painting: form, colour, shape and texture. Werner is interested in the power of paint to inspire empathy in the viewer, and to create a space for emotional thought. In an interview with the art historian and writer Nancy Ring, Werner spoke of her interest in simplicity, and seeking a method of painting that went outside of the conventions of representation, or the superficially beautiful. Colour is another important element in Werner’s work. She uses it symbolically, to create a mood. The cool blues in this artwork seem chosen from a Scandinavian palette, like delftware pottery. A trail of marks threads a path through floating blue ovals. The brushstrokes look freshly applied, like a bird hopping through a garden, or a doodle drawn while working through a problem. Janet Werner (1959- ) was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She earned her BFA from the Maryland Institute (1985), and MFA from Yale University, (1987). Werner began her teaching with the University of Saskatchewan and has since become Professor of Studio Arts with Concordia University in Montreal. She has participated in numerous residencies in Banff, New York and Paris. Her work has shown widely internationally, including the Prague Biennale (2003), and is held in numerous private and public collections.