Canadian painter Janna Watson uses abstraction as both an escape from and a return to the real. The known world dematerializes into paint strokes, with each stroke taking stage as a character in a multi-act drama within the complex composition. Discrete instances of teeming pigment gather into bundles of color, “moments” poise as though caught mid-multiplication. Watson’s paint is applied variously; with sweeps of buttery ribbons that re-direct sharply and fold over themselves, in thin veils, or abundantly as rich impasto, often calligraphic lines cut into the pictorial field adding to the increasingly complex system of painterly language. These moments float against a backdrop of subtle chromatic gradation that tenderly gesture toward the familiar, stopping just short of representation. Her work artistic output is a conceptual project with a distinct stylistic signature. Watson’s paintings define a contemporary milieu in which abstract painting is not the retreat of meaning into an unrecognizable realm, but rather the emergence of medium as a self-affirmed “figure”.
Janna Watson earned a BFA (honors) in Drawing and Painting from the Ontario College of Art and Design. Her work has been exhibited extensively in Canada and internationally including in more than thirty solo exhibitions and has been included in international fairs, including Art Toronto, CONTEXT Art Miami, Seattle Art Fair. Notable public collections include TD Bank, CIBC, Telus, the Ritz-Carlton, ONi ONE, the Soho Metropolitan Hotel, Saks Fifth Avenue and AURA. Watson’s work has been featured in publications such as The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, NOW Magazine, and House & Home. The artist lives and works in Toronto.