Jane Burton, a San Francisco based artist, graduated from UC Davis in the late 70’s with a BFA, studying under Wayne Thiebaud, Roy DeForest and Robert Arneson. She continued with graduate school and a career in Graphic Design. Some years later her passion for ceramics and sculpture was reignited, inspired by a trip to Abiquiu, New Mexico where Burton worked with Native American potters. Working as a potter for a short time, Jane’s work grew larger and larger and quickly evolved into figurative sculpture. Four years later, she was offered her first solo show where she featured a two-story, twenty foot ceramic figure.
Jane Burton’s current body of work is a timeless examination of humankind through the female form. Through her gestural and towering totemic figures, we examine perceptions of who we are as individuals – how we present ourselves, how we appear, our gender socialization, our self-worth – our strength, perseverance, spirituality and aging. Her figures are public, yet private – strong yet vulnerable.
Burton has chosen clay for its primal, fluid and malleable nature. “I feel a connection in the clay body – its nature – and, intuition takes over. As the layers build upon each other and the pieces grow, they acquire their own spirits and our spirits connect. The exposed layers evoke layers of time, experiences and growth – the rhythm of life.”
I’m intrigued with objects that hold life… the shell of the hermit crab, the cocoon of the butterfly, the human body. Over the layers of time, they hold the story of the life that resides within. The vessels remain as life moves on, leaving their stories behind.
Many of Burton’s works are scribed in her hand – personal thoughts and perceptions on who we are and how we become what we are. Trained as a painter, the surfaces into which she writes are organic and complex layers of analogous or complimentary glazes and oxides applied, fired, etched and re-fired.
I’m fully immersed in the performance from the time I first dig my fingers into the clay until I pull the vessel from the fire’s ashes. – Jane Burton