A close connection with the animal nature has helped me to have more empathy with all manifestations of the life force, and to express the complex experience of what it is to be here as a flesh and blood being.
As long as I can remember, I have loved animals and felt a kinship with them. I live with five cats, all rescued strays, and one feral. They are an inspiration to me, and I learn from them.
Emotion has always played a part in my work, as well as the kind of mythology that comes from the body's sensual and spiritual desires, something felt in the bones and cells. I am concerned about the need for love in a world that does not respect vulnerability. I am also concerned about the need for self respect in a world that seems to disrespect the power of the life force.
I am working for my character, and my work is concerned with the paradox of the power of nature with regard to our own sense of order or justice. Through communion with the animal nature, I am interested in the integration of instinct and intellect, knowledge and innocence, power and weakness, sacred and profane.
The images go through a metamorphosis as I caress and scrape the surface. The dogs, cats, birds, sea creatures, and other animals in the paintings and sculptures twist around, flip over, and take on new form, becoming beings such as birdfish. From the beginning of my work in the 1980's, animals have merged with other animals, as they cross species and become hybrids.
In addition to encaustic mixed-media on panel paintings, and mixed media pastel paintings on paper, I speak in a language, “Animal Tongues,” which has been included in multimedia installations of porcelain sculptures. “Animal Tongue” acts as a bridge to the world beneath the surface, and enables me to live and see clearly.
Originating from a love of the natural world, my work finds a connection between the “reptilian brain” and altruism. Occurring from a place similar to dreams, and acted out within an inner landscape, the images reestablish a link with the wonder and mystery of the life force.
Jan Harrison's paintings, sculptures, and installations involve empathy with the animal nature as it relates to human existence. A long time advocate for the respect of animals, she speaks in a language, Animal Tongue, which has been included as part of sculptural installations. Her work was included in the exhibition Animal.Anima.Animus, which opened in Finland and was exhibited at PS1. Arcana Mundi, a book spanning twenty years of her work, was published in 2001 by Station Hill/Barrytown, Ltd., New York. In 2003, a chapter regarding her work was included in the book, In The Making: Creative Options for Contemporary Art, by Linda Weintraub, published by D.A.P., Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., New York, NY....