"Jane Lewis is an accomplished draughtswoman; however neither accuracy, on the one hand, nor imagination on the other, is enough to create a masterpiece. The elements of the picture must build not only a unity of design but weave a tapestry of meaning. This is where symbolism and suggestion come in, dogs, birds, butterflies, fruit, mirrors, musical instruments, masks, even impassivity itself; all have their secondary meanings, and in Jane’s case, all are part of a narrative thread loose enough to free the visual imagination from the restraints of reason."
from Masking Reality by Anne Ellis
Jane Lewis is a much collected and well respected artist. An individualist, she quietly but obsessively produces work which is oblivious to fashion, trends or movements. Known principally as a painter, she is also an accomplished draughtswoman and printmaker.
Her painting technique is in part influenced by the artists of the early Italian and Northern European Renaissance and visits to Italy to study the ancient Roman frescoes at Pompeii, Herculaneum and Ostia have also had a profound effect. Her response to this ancient art has been one of recognition of its startlingly contemporary resonance - a modernity of expression and application of paint which speaks directly across the centuries and which finds echoes in her own work. But while Jane’s own working methods and materials could be seen as traditional, the subject matter as wide-ranging, challenging and of its time. Her aim is to produce technically immaculate paintings which often contain subversive imagery, a paradox at once seducing and challenging the viewer. Pictures within pictures are a frequent motif. The human figures and objects depicted, the stillness and impression of time arrested, are all part of a personal narrative expressing the relationship between conscious thoughts and an inner world.
Winner of the Slade Prize on graduation from the Slade School of Art UCL, Jane went on to participate in the ground-breaking “Women’s Images of Men” exhibition at the ICA in London in 1980, an early turning point in her career. Showing in the exhibition's sequel “Pandora’s Box” while at the same time pursuing a 12 month residency with Kent Opera in 1985 gave her work wider exposure which enabled her to paint full-time and exhibit with the Nicholas Treadwell Gallery. In 1989 the opera company commissioned and published in reproduction 3 paintings to commemorate their 20th Anniversary. She was later awarded a Fellowship in Drawing by the Henry Moore Foundation which attracted the attention of the Portal Gallery in London, where Jane exhibited from 1993 to 2012. More recently she has received funding from Arts Council England and the Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust, and was commissioned by Standard Chartered Bank for their corporate collection. Jane’s work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions throughout the UK and also internationally. Paintings and prints are in a number of public collections and numerous private collections and she now shows regularly with the Red Dot Gallery in Norfolk as well as exhibiting independently.
Articles about Jane’s work and reproductions of her images have appeared in art catalogues, books and periodicals which include The Sciences/USA, Mslexia Magazine/UK, Univers des Arts/France, Nouveau Magazine/Netherlands, Uptown Magazine/UK, Faber & Faber, Paladin Books and most significantly Bloodaxe Books, who have to date used 22 paintings as covers for their poetry publications. She has written articles for “The Artist”, “Artists & Illustrators”, "Photoshop Creative" and "The Jackdaw" magazines. Work is extensively featured in "A Singular Vision - Fifty Years of British Painting at The Portal Gallery" (Prestel Books).
Jane has published limited edition prints independently and with Obsession Publishing UK and Christies Contemporary Art and is listed in: “Who’s Who in Art” 31st edition onwards (Hilmarton Manor Press); “Dictionary of International Biography” 32nd edition onwards (Cambridge-Melrose Press); “The Cambridge Blue Book” since 2005, and “World Who’s Who of Women” from 2009.