JANE NEAL is an Oxford-based freelance critic and curator. She contributes to a wide variety of international art publications including Art in America, Art Review, Flash Art, Map Magazine and Modern Painters, and writes regularly for The Telegraph. Jane Neal is currently the Artistic Director at Calvert 22. Neal curated the landmark 2006-07 Cluj Connection exhibition at Haunch of Venison, Zurich. In 2007, she curated the critically acclaimed Across the Trees: Romanian Art Now at David Nolan Gallery in New York.
Essentially my practice is concerned with the non-material, a reality that we can access through contemplation and painting....Jung asserts that the experience of the Sacred and Holy is a fundamental requirement of the self. To deny it brings spiritual decay; to embrace it illuminates the soul with meaning.
Today the moving image dominates our world and whilst visually powerful in so many respects, it denies us the opportunity for stillness and reflection. The value of a painting lies in its ability to induce a contemplative state in the viewer. As Walter Benjamin says 'before it the spectator can abandon himself to his associations.'
For me, the value of contemplation lies in its ability to reconcile the heart and the mind into one. I'm inspired by Merleau-Ponty's observation that it is 'precisely because painting does not 'copy' things, and because it does not offer things to thought as does science but presents them immediately and bodily, in their depth and movement, that painting gives a true sense of the world and what it means to see it.'
Through my work I'm interested in enquiring into ways in which man may be related to the infinate. Upon the framework of this enquiry my paintings aim to investigate, among other things, notions of transience, intimacy, loss and hope. I use the external world as a trigger or metaphor for these experiences and through a period of gestation and distillation, I make a series of intuitive decisions that lead the work towards completion. Such perceived moments arrest my own internal dialogue, freezing it in time and mirroring it into a metaphorical visual shape.
'For the only equivalent of the universe within is the universe without; Jung