Artists to Inspire: Janet Fish

I saw my first Janet Fish painting in October 1985 at my now alma mater, Hollins University.  Her still life paintings are vibrant with saturated color, primarily composed of fruits, sun-lit colored glass, and reflective surfaces, like silver and shimmering fabrics. Born in 1938, Janet Fish attended Smith College in Boston and went on to get advanced degrees in Art from the Skowhegan School of Art and Yale University's School of Art and Architecture. Primarily a contemporary realist still life artist, her work is especially about light, color, and composition, exquisitely incorporating colored glass and plastic to craft a rhythm of shadows and reflections. 

Black Vase with Daffodils, Janet Fish

Fish paints entirely from life, chasing the light around the canvas, painting each section of the work when the light on the item looks best. Because of this, the light in her paintings reflect time passing instead of representing a single moment.  She gives form to energy. In Fish's words, "I see light as energy, and energy is always moving through us. I don't see things as being separated- I don't paint the objects, I paint one after the other. I paint through the painting."


Sequins, 2003 by Janet Fish

Fish's process begins with creating her still lifes in her Vermont Studio.  Props arranged chromatically fill the studio's bookshelves. She uses them to produce compositions that vibrate with energy and light, often filled with translucent or transparent objects surrounded by flowers, bright cloth patterns, and other brilliant hues objects.

Tulip, Apple and Glass, 1980

Fish is widely recognized, and her work is in the collections of major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Represented by the DC Moore Gallery of NY, enclosed is a link to the catalog of Janet Fish's 2017 retrospective exhibition at the DC Moore Gallery, Pinwheel and Poppies 1980-2008. 

Janet Fish: Pinwheels and Poppies, Paintings 1980 - 2008
Digital catalogue. Published on the occasion of the exhibition

JANET FISH, Pinwheels & Poppies Paintings 1980–2008
DC Moore Gallery, September 7– 30, 2017

Copyright © DC Moore Gallery, 2017

 DC Moore Gallery Catalog: Pinwheels & Poppies 1980-2008

I hope you'll explore this inspiring contemporary artist's work.  Janet Fish's paintings always lighten my spirit, give me a color crush, and make me laugh.  There is always something new to see when you view her paintings. And as a Hollins College grad who survived "the 1985 flood," I'm glad we saved those beautiful "Fishes" from the then art gallery in the basement of the Art Annex.  Those paintings and their energy have inspired me for a lifetime!

Kraft Salad Dressing by Janet Fish





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