Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Born 1938: Janet Fish, American

Photo from Internet
Janet Fish is a contemporary realist who revitalized the still-life genre during the period when Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism were dominating the art world. She is known for paintings of colorful objects with reflective surfaces, but some of her paintings emphasize objects with complex, overlapping patterns and few reflections. All her paintings are harmonious compositions that vibrate with energy and light.

Janet was born into a family of artists. Her grandfather was a fairly well-known American Impressionist, Clark Voorhees. Her father was a professor of art history; her mother was a sculptor; her sister was a photographer. She knew from an early age that she wanted to continue the tradition. 
Fish earned a B.F.A. from Smith, and she was one of the first women to win an M.F.A. from Yale.

At Yale she was taught the rudiments of Abstract Expressionism. Though she rejected this style as too   rule-bound and detached from reality, she adopted its energetic brushwork.

One of her instructors at Yale was Alex Katz, a figurative artist who was bucking the trend toward abstract and conceptual work; he became a life-long mentor.

She had intended to teach college level art, but met with rejection because she was a woman; this was in the late 1960s. Instead, she went to New York and took odd jobs to keep herself going until she reached a certain level of success.

Janet had her first big exhibitions in the 1970s and her career has extended 4 decades so far.

She works from life, instead of from photos.

Her work is now shown in major art venues throughout the world. Her paintings are frankly gorgeous and visually stimulating.

Private life:

Janet Fish, Charles Parness, with younger artist
Anne Goffin Smith / from her blog

Janet's first marriage was to an artist. Her second was to a non-artist.

For a long while she has been living with an artist named Charles Parness. Here's a funny case of role reversal: Parness paints curious and funny self-portraits, but his career is ignored.

Charles Parness
Fish Tales, 

Janet and Charles divide their time between a loft in Soho, in New York City, and a farmhouse in rural Vermont.

Our photos of Janet's art:

Bouquet of Tulips, 1982
Dan's photo, 2006

Still Life with Open Book, 1990
Kemper / Jan's photo, 2013

Cows, 1990
Albrecht-Kemper / Jan's photo, 2013

Internet Examples:

Untitled (Two Packages of Pears), 1969

Goldfish and Autumn Leaves, 1979
Cantor / Internet

Raspberries and Goldfish, 1981

Still Life with Open Book, 1990
Kemper / Jan's photo

Balloons, 1999
50 x 100 inches

Cows, 1990
Albrecht-Kemper / Jan's photo

Plastic Boxes, 2007

Blue Decanter, Polka-dot bowl, Suzani, 2009
Suzani is the fabric in the background.