From time to time, literature’s wild boar 1)Let me explain for my English readers : In France, the author is known as the Sanglier littéraire, term which roughly translates to : the wild boar of literature. – though proud of his usual designation – embarks on expeditions into other domains, preferably fine art and painting, a universe that still fascinates him each time he sets foot in a museum or finds himself on a site dedicated to painting. Now imagine his happiness when he met, on About.Me, a young artist whose paintings have succeeded in keeping him locked to his screen for hours on hours spent watching, researching and feasting on paintings whose force swept him far away in a torrent of colours from his usual daytime occupations. And how to express his happiness when the artist in question actually replied to an email sent in a desperate attempt to start a conversation about everything and nothing, but above all in order to get to see more of those radiant bodies which Amber Jahn – also known as #jahnniegirl – knows how to paint in such an exquisite way.
Some small conversation was enough to convince me to dedicate an article to this young woman whose deep dark eyes reflect the colours of the universe that she in turn renders in painting, all the while aware of the brute force sleeping at the heart of the smallest things, ready to respond to the slightest beam of sunlight and to explode in the faces of the unaware. An artist who confers to the human flesh a radiant consistence that makes one want to touch and feel and praise all at the same time. In short, an artist that has all it takes in order to seduce literature’s wild boar who, in no time at all, left his den in order to feel the salty air coming in over the bay of San Diego, the town of the extreme south of California where Amber has taken up residence, obeying to the impulse written into the Americans” DNA and to the call that made the impressionist painters leave Paris, 150 years ago, for southern France where the sun makes the colours glow with unequalled brilliance.
Amber Jahn – figurative art and rich inspiration
Amber Jahn is part of San Diego’s lively artistic milieu where she regularly takes part in collective performances and so-called art battles organised by several promotion companies, art collectives and entertainment venues such as BassTribe, The Belly up, On Point Promotions, SlicEntertainment, UX31, SpinNightclub, 69 Revive, Atomic NightClub, Infusion Project or RAW Artists, and in fund-raisers benefitting cancer research such as Stand-up for the cure or Summer Meltdown Autism Awareness Arts Festival. Her paintings are regularly exposed either in a more classic fashion in art galleries as for example Kettner Arts Gallery, or in rather unorthodox places like Coffee shops as Filter and Te Mundo, Palm Spring’s Center for health and sexuality or a San Diego sex-shop like Pleasures & Treasures. Taverns also exhibit her art as well as host her painting live as a band or DJ play music.
Those who embark on a journey to discover the rich works of Amber Mae Jahn will find that they are confronted to an unwavering artist with lots of different aspects concerning her techniques and her subjects. Being a firm believer in improvisation and performance, she is used to leaving her studio and working in places as divers as night-clubs or the beaches of the Pacific ocean, while keeping a habit of working in better protected places for pieces that need a more patient application. Being able to handle the brush, the knife, the pen and the camera, she commands a wide variety of techniques that she puts to the service of her art which, with its clear lines, its reductions and its wide colourful stretches cannot deny a certain link to the comic strip.
As for the subjects, if the nude makes for a large part of her artistic production, there are also other subjects to be found as the portrait, the still-life and all sorts of compositions which it is at times difficult to classify but that may be called studies in colour or perhaps even colour-tempests. However that may be, Amber Jahn’s painting is resolutely figurative without being in any way retro or regressive. Her female figures radiate the serene confidence of her that has found her place in life and who either contemplates the universe with a certain distance (like the pregnant woman who happily exposes her charms with absolute confidence) or defies it, safe behind a shield of total tranquillity that nothing seems to be able to harm.
As for the canvas, Amber has a strong predilection for recycled material, a predilection she explains with the recycled objects” life that confers to them a supplementary inspiration that pre-dates (and possibly influences) the artist’s :
« Most of my painting supplies and canvas are rescued, recycled, found or gifted items. […] I genuinely prefer to use the character and abandoned surfaces of old shelving, wood planks, and vintage windows for the existing inspiration such a piece presents. » 2)Quoted from the Bio of Amber’s Google+ profile.
At the centre of her art – the Nude
The nude – and above all the feminine nude – is ever present in Amber Jahn’s artwork, and the (future) Mother happily mingles with the Dominatrix. The women expose themselves in all the splendour of their ripe and tight flesh, though there is one particularity that may disturb, a trait that appears again and again on a large number of her paintings : the absence of a face and sometimes even of nipples, as if those attributes had the power to create an individual capable of mutiny against captivity inside a too small frame. Unless the artist wants to give a more universal character to her subjects, a validity that extends to the whole species. There is, among those women, a wide variety though certain types appear again and again like the woman lying on her back (sometimes pregnant, sometimes not) and contemplating the world with her absent face, or the woman standing proud which one would like to imagine capable of defying the whole world – if only she had eyes to stare. Alongside those types, there is the shameless woman, the woman with her mate and even the woman reduced to her genital parts. All of them sharing, beyond their differences, a ravishing beauty, distant at times, radiant always, a beauty that attracts the looks which the creatures of the brush are incapable of returning.
A wink to abstraction
It comes as no surprise that my favourite pieces are the women represented by Amber Jahn in all their splendour. But I won’t hide from you the fact that there are other subjects in her repertoire that, while being evidence to her masterful execution, will seduce the art enthusiast. There are, after all, other obsessions than my own and other beauties than that of women.
Amber Jahn is also a photographer and she knows how to handle her camera. And sometimes it’s the photographs, as unexpected and unusual as it may seem, that make a wink to abstraction, as so eloquently demonstrated by the one of an artichoke.
And then there are paintings, placed somewhere in between a figurative approach and a certain strife to abstraction, paintings that are a hymn to colour, like the Hummingbird that celebrates painting itself, capable of drowning the world in a deluge of colours :
It is of course impossible to grasp the brush without being under the influence of a multi-secular history. Amber Jahn is no exception to this rule and some her paintings quote european religious art as for example the California Triptyque with its colours that make one think of those of sunset, its form inherited from medieval and renaissance painting and its iconography that refers to the tree of life and the forbidden fruit, a subject that one also finds in a painting executed in collaboration with Al Scholl. This painting, Girl with an apple, is by the way the result of a life performance, an approach to creation that Amber is particularly fond of. One will take note, in the two illustrations, of the intensity of the colours, an effect in large part due to the juxtaposition of warm and cool colours on which the close proximity has a magnifying effect.
Slowly but surely I come to the end of my journey through the passionate universe of Amber Jahn’s paintings, but I won’t leave my esteemed readers without indicating them another important source of her inspiration : The everyday life of the west coast. Is it not impossible to contemplate without a smile Amber’s Sk8er Chic, the colourful essence of all the girls and the women one is used to see skating along the Pacific coast with hardly a stitch from watching all those American movies that would make you believe that you have now come to the paradise of joy and delight, somewhere between Los Angeles and San Francisco ?
A candle to be taken over
I have had great pleasure in writing this modest article, in delving into the rich works that Amber had the kindness to make available to me, in letting my imagination get taken away by an almost maritime current of colours while discovering, slowly but steadily, a woman who fully commits herself to her art, in sharing (in trying to at least) the enthusiasm I felt while discovering a world of painting of vibrant heat. I lack the time and the erudition to compose the work that would do justice to Amber Jahn, but I do know my own short-comings and patiently wait for others to take up the task, a pleasure I happily concede to more capable hands.
I get the impression that I literally stuffed my article with paintings, but how could I resist the temptation of presenting a very large number when each one of those small wonders has the power to make me fall for it ? But as an author has to take care that his words are readable and do not get drowned, I had to hold back an even larger number of images. So, in order to make available to you a large variety of Amber’s paintings, I decided to put together a small gallery. But as even this has to be limited, I invite you to go on your own expedition and to browse the artist’s profiles on the social networks as for example Facebook where Amber is present with a large choice of her works.
Références [ + ]
|1.||↑||Let me explain for my English readers : In France, the author is known as the Sanglier littéraire, term which roughly translates to : the wild boar of literature.|
|2.||↑||Quoted from the Bio of Amber’s Google+ profile.|