September 19 - November 22, 2015
Jane Buyers’ exhibition, FOLD, brings together drawings, lithographs and etchings from four different series spanning the years 2004 to 2014: Chronicles, Amend, Notes on Il Penseroso and Notes on Tintern Abbey. The show highlights Buyers’ ongoing interest in book imagery and depictions of nature as sites of human action and desire. Each series began with the collecting of objects such as old books or botanical representations found in vintage textiles or jewelry. The translation from object to image is achieved through printing processes and drawing as well as transformations in scale and composition. The result is an intricate construction reflecting the sensitivity with which Buyers approaches materials.
The sensitive treatment of materials is evident in Chronicles. Layers of worn, blank book pages were arranged to resemble an open book, photographed and then processed as etchings. Buyers drew botanical imagery onto the prints, recording both a feminine narrative and contesting the truth and authority of an official text. The sequence of images further questions our perception of reality, since what we see is not a representation of a natural flower but a representation of an imitation.
In the Amend series, Buyers’ intricate drawings of bouquets reveal a collage of disparate botanical images. The work evokes rites of passage through life and death and again questions our perceptions of the “real” and the “natural,” once the images are recognized as fabrications. Amend reminds one of the human need to create new narratives, and the role that fact, fiction and perception play in remembering the past.
The final two series, Notes on Il Penseroso and Notes on Tintern Abbey, are photo-lithographic reproductions of pages from vintage schoolbooks on John Milton and Williams Wordsworth respectively. Each page of poetry is marked by handwriting in the margins from the student who once owned the book. The words are overlaid with a detailed lithograph of a tulip in its final stage of blooming, referencing nature themes in the poems, and collapsing the present with the past. These two series potently express the subjectivity of the individual through the layering and enfolding of printed text and handwriting, the search for meaning, and the merging of memories.
Jane Buyers is a nationally renowned artist living in Elmira. Her work has been exhibited widely and can be found in many private and public collections, including the Toronto-Dominion Bank and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Buyers was Professor and then Chair in the Fine Arts department at the University of Waterloo from 1988 to 2010 and was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2002.