Sunday, September 12, 2010

under distant skies: the art of jane balsgaard

last weekend i visited the studio of artist jane balsgaard. she's one of six artists that have their studios in a lovely old building in frederiksværk. a trained painter and sculptor, she has been working for many years with natural materials - handmade paper, bendy willow that she grows herself - materials that she gently twists into graceful, lighter-than-air shapes that seem to float.  i was especially fascinated by her boats. she allowed me to wander her light, airy studio with my camera(s) in hand.

jane balsgaard talks about listening to the willow as she works with it and about the point where she often allows it to bend her artistic vision to its will rather than vice versa. i asked her about the pieces she was sending to an upcoming show in chicago and how they would withstand the journey. she said the pieces are surprisingly durable. one had blown away from her last winter and she didn't find it 'til the snow melted in the spring, surprisingly not worse for the wear.

light, delicate sculptures of beautiful unique handmade paper, twigs and delicate fishline fairly float around her studio. they have a way of capturing an enigmatic moment, freezing it momentarily, but releasing it at the same time. the sculptures are elusive in their lightness, yet dense with meaning that feels like it's right there, waiting to be snatched up.

these columns on the wall gave me the feeling that they could capture light and channel it. or choose not to, according to their whims.

there is a blend of nature and fancy in jane's work. the two curvy works in the middle of this photo seemed to be in motion tho' they were still. i had a notion that they were singing softly to themselves and that i would be able to hear their song if it were quiet enough. and i kept thinking that they moved just as i looked away. for structures so light, they are heavy with potential meanings.

 this fantastic organic shape, kalabasbåden, suspended on the ceiling was part of an exhibition at the himmerlands kunstmuseum on års in 2009.

there was so much to look at, i could have stayed for hours. here's a hint of some fascinating feathery works that i will save for another post.

i had the feeling that this beautiful boat was already there, lurking within the willow and jane just called it forth, coupling it with her light and beautiful handmade paper.

for those in the chicago area, you're in luck, you can see (and buy) jane balsgaard's beautiful work for yourself in person at SOFA nov. 5-7, 2010 at navy pier.  she also has gallery representation in the US at browngrotta.

jane balsgaard's beautiful works have me thinking about art and artists and the lifetime it takes to hone a craft. has art made you think this weekend?


Anonymous said...

Lovely! I'm almost speechless, these pieces are so fascinating.

Margie Oomen said...

afraid to admit it but i have often felt that the stones I work with speak to me just as the willow does to this fantastic artist.
Her world is so modern and yet so ancient
I think that is what leaves me completely smitten with it.
thanks for this well written post.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Picking my jaw up off the table! What gorgeous work. Jane is indeed a great talent.
Cheers, jj

Deb said...

Wow! How fortunate you were to visit her in her studio. How fortunate we are to be able to see her work via your blog. Great post, would love to see more.

Unknown said...

Lovely....all of it...and isn't she beautiful! smiles.

The Queens Table said...

floating freely.....

Sharon said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Her work is amazing! Just looking at the photos makes me happy. Oh, to be able to own a lovely piece. Maybe someday.

mrs mediocrity said...

art made me think all weekend...both because i was at an arts festival selling my jewelry but also because that is the mode i am in on the brain.
wish i could live there forever.
I LOVE these pieces, what amazing work she does, thank you for introducing us.

Lisa-Marie said...

What beautiful work. the balance of light and dark, and the movement you can see even in the more rectilinear pieces is astonishing!

Oh, and yes. Husband and I went to GoMA in Glasgow, I always come away with lots to think about and feeling inspired.