Jane Wilson

Jane Wilson (April 29, 1924 – January 13, 2015) was an American painter associated with both landscape painting and expressionism. She lived and worked in New York City and Watermill, New York.Wilson was born in Seymour, Iowa and grew up on a farm there during the Great Depression. She was the first of two girls born to Wayne Wilson, a civil engineer, and Cleone Margaret Marquis, a teacher, novelist and poet. Both parents came from farming families.
Wilson attributed her longstanding interest in landscape to her deep relationship with the natural elements as a child in Iowa. "The landscape was enormously meaningful to me," she said. "I used to roam around a lot by myself as a child, and when I think of a landscape, I think of the great weight of the sky and how it rests on the earth. And I remember the light. Light is specific to certain places, and what sort of light and landscape formation you grow up with is immensely influential to what you do later on."


 In 1949, Wilson moved to New York City with her husband John Jonas Gruen, who had been a fellow student. In New York City and on Long Island, Wilson became professionally and personally involved with a group of painters and poets (sometimes referred to as the New York School). Among the artists were Fairfield Porter, Larry Rivers, and Jane Freilicher, and among the poets were James Schuyler, John Ashbery and Frank O'Hara. In her painting, Wilson began to move toward abstraction and away from her academic training. In 1952, she began exhibiting with two cooperative galleries: Tanager Gallery and Hansa Gallery, where she was a founding member.
During the 1950s, Wilson also worked as a fashion model to help support her career as an artist. As a model, Wilson recognized the technical expertise and sculptural artistry involved in fashion design. Others in the art world, however, may have regarded this pursuit as "unseemly for a serious artist." Wilson defended her intellect by mentioning her years in academia.
By the mid-1950s, Wilson was increasingly focusing on producing expressionist landscapes. Of this period, Wilson said: "In 1956 and 7, I found myself in one of those lucid moments that occurs every twenty years and I realized I wasn't a second generation Abstract Expressionist. I looked at the ingredients of what I was painting and felt an uncontrollable allegiance to subject matter, and to landscape in particular.

 In 1961, Wilson described her painting process in Art in America magazine:
"My paintings are done mostly from memory. After making simple indications of mass and movement, I start painting from the top down in thin color washes, working into it with paint a little thicker. While painting landscape, my feeling is that the detail and the mass are built on varieties of paint application, but when a painting is finished, these details have somehow become recognizable things. It is always a surprise to me how specific my paintings are. What I remember as color and paint put in a particular area of the painting because they were needed, has somehow become identifiable landscape elements. Figure and still life, however, are more aggressive as subject matter. Here my impulse is to pull the background as far forward as possible, to push the subject back into it; to reduce the specific—to insist on the paint and the painting..Wikipedia

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