Amber Jahn – a radiant artist

Amber Mae JahnFrom 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.

Amber Jahn, Sexy is.....motherhood
Amber Jahn, Sexy is.….motherhood

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.

Les yeux d'Amber

Amber Jahn – figu­ra­tive art and rich ins­pi­ra­tion

Amber Jahn, Performance en direct
Amber Jahn, Live per­for­mance at Qua­li­ty Social, a San Die­go res­tau­rant.

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.

Amber Jahn, Reinforcement
Amber Jahn, Rein­for­ce­ment

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

Amber Jahn, Dominatrix
Amber Jahn, Domi­na­trix

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.

Amber Jahn, Dahlia
Amber Jahn, Dah­lia

A wink to abs­trac­tion

Amber Jahn, Artichaud
Amber Jahn, Arti­choke

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 :

Amber Jahn, Colibri
Amber Jahn, Hum­ming­bird

Cali­for­nian ins­pi­ra­tion

Amber Jahn / Al Scholl, Girl with an apple
Amber Jahn / Al Scholl, Girl with an apple

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.

Amber Jahn, California triptyque
Amber Jahn, Cali­for­nia trip­tyque
Amber Jahn, Sk8er-chic
Amber Jahn, Sk8er-chic

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.

Small gal­le­ry

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.

Comments are closed.