• Janet Ranson

    Janet Ranson
    • Artist Statement
      • I combine my studio work, painting and figure drawing with an interest in Nature. This has been leading me towards site-specific work and Nature Art, which is usually a response to a natural space, and often a temporary installation. See Western Cape Land Art on Facebook, if you’d like to know more about that.

        Meanwhile, the Cape is at its best as the afternoons turn golden in later summer. Here we are at the end of a hot, sweaty season. Never let it be said that I wished for cooler weather – but it did go on and on and seemed somehow to broil our brains! Actually, the heat was so intense this summer that I concocted a great excuse to work outdoors: shade paintings.

        Now we have reached the Equinox again – another marker in the great cycle of time. Time to clear out the garden and plant some peas. Also a good time to clear out the studio. Actually, clearing out the studio needs to be done quite regularly. I always have files and piles of clippings, and I love to sort them into themes. This leads to a new round of collage, and a new cycle of paintings!

        Many of my works are a romantic attempt to freeze time, to halt the stars in the sky and to remain in ‘Saturday-afternoon mode’. Everyone has golden moments and memories – us painters are lucky enough to have the job of revisiting happy places in our minds and finding ways to evoke holiday feelings. (Of course we have other roles too:, such as the ‘canary in the coal mine’. I find that ‘burning’ themes lend themselves to collaborative works.)

        So I’m allowing myself to meditate in nature. I’ve been sketching outdoors, both on the wild slopes of Table Mountain and in some beautiful gardens. I’m developing paintings from my sketches, and as Robert Genn (generous artist, teacher and diarist – see his online newsletters and more) says ‘ it’s good to work in series – about 100 will do’. Some of the works are determined to become quite abstract, some are quite recognizable. I see them as spaces for contemplation and comfort – memories of summer so hot you just need to find shade!
    • Biography

      • Janet Ranson is a painter, educator and nature artist with a passion for art and the beautiful Cape fynbos. She finds inspiration all around her. She works from and in the natural environment, walking, sketching, creating temporary land art installations and collaborations - and using all these to inform her energetic paintings. Bold gestures suggest growth, movement and the flickering light of a windswept mountainside, with succeeding natural phases reveled in washes and layers of paint.

        Ranson trained in workshops in South Africa (Thupelo, Multimidiations) and abroad (Thapong, Ngong and Art’s Up, Tate St Ives) and believes art is for sharing. She sees it as a method of making sense of the world, and for celebration. She has participated in and run many workshops, been selected for residencies in Taiwan and South Korea, and exhibits regularly.

        She is a founding member of Western Cape Land Art (see Facebook page) and works with Site-Specific artists on large scale land art.

        Selected Exhibitions:

        Reality Check, AVA Cape Town 2016
        White Curtains 2015 - 16
        Invisible Ones, Alliance Francaise du Cap 2015
        Open Streets 2014 - 15,
        Whispers of the Sea, Castle of Good Hope 2014, Basurama workshop 2014, Sensory Labyrinth Theatre performances 2015, Chenglong Residency Taiwan 2012, Human.Earth series 2011 - 12

    • Interview

      • What is your favourite film of all time?!
        Men in Black (of course)

        What music are you currently listening to and why?
        Winston Mankunku’s ‘Jika’ because it was featured at the Cape Town Jazz festival,  because it reminds me why I love South Africa, and because it makes me feel young again.

        Which living artists do you most admire and why?
        So many: Naomi Frears, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Kay Hassan, David Koloane, Colbert Mashile, Minette Vari, Johannes Phokela,Jane Alexander, Nandipha Mntambo,and of course Marlen Dumas. They each have an  individual vision that remakes the world for me

        Which deceased artist do you most admire and why?
        Pierre Bonnard – pure sensuous appeal, and he lived a real painter’s life.

        Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why?
        St Ives Tate’s modern British painters – made me want to paint.

        What is the question you get asked most frequently about your work and how do you answer it?
        What kind of work do you make?
        Answer:‘Personal,  existential and environmental. Ideas from literature and my own observation are drawn and rendered in paint, multi-media or scrap sculpture.’

        What/ who inspired you to be an artist?
        A sense, from early childhood, that my own view was somewhat unusual.

        Can you tell us about where you make your art and what if any, the significance of this location is
        My studio is at home, as I enjoy being able to work at any time of the day or night. I do need company too, so I like to teach part-time, and meet artists friends to sketch, draw and TALK. My husband and children are also artists, so our whole home is filled with projects in various states of progress.

        What do you like most about being an artist?
        Endless surprises.

        What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
        Horton, the life-size mammoth, made of mud and living grass, in the forest in Kenya.

        What are your plans for the coming year?
        Currently pursuing a series of collages about cross-cultural influence. These include musings on the delights of cheap plastic imports and gardening. Solo show of paintings by the end of the year.  Projects with young artists.