Amber Jahn, Triptych

It was in June 2015 that I publi­shed a fea­ture on west coast artist Amber Jahn. Who would have thought, at that time, that this publi­ca­tion was to become the most read ever regis­te­red by the Bauge lit­té­raire ? Is it because it has been publi­shed, right from the start, in two lan­guages, that of the Bauge and that of the artist, ope­ning my french-spea­king space up to a much lar­ger public ? Or is it the fas­ci­na­tion rai­sed by the tem­pest of colors that Amber’s brush stirs up without mistake ?

Wha­te­ver the rea­son, today it is my honor to present to you three pain­tings by this same artist, three pain­tings bound toge­ther by the ancient art form of the trip­tych, crea­ted in the middle ages to serve litur­gi­cal pur­poses. And the pre­sen­ta­tion of this series of pain­tings is accom­pa­nied by a small text from the artist her­self, a text where she gives the sto­ry behind the art, some­thing suf­fi­cient­ly rare to make it noteworthy.

 

Amber Jahn, Triptych
Amber Jahn, Triptych

« The most inti­mate, per­so­nal piece I have crea­ted to date. For Arte Fres­ca a few years back at Blue­foot Bar in North Park. The show was « Shat­te­red » so I told the sto­ry of a young me in the first pain­ting sit­ting on a bench day­drea­ming. In her thoughts (which I crea­ted bubbles of plexi­glass for) were three events. First her gra­dua­tion, then her wed­ding day, then her and her hus­band on the day of the birth of her first child. In the second pain­ting the young girl has grown and is sit­ting on the ground sur­roun­ded by the bro­ken pic­tures of the life she had now lost. The frames made of plexi­glass were affixed onto the pain­ting at a 20 degree slope and were actual pic­tures of my wed­ding, my hus­band and I, my kids, and my fami­ly. In the last piece the girl is now an older woman. You are loo­king at her through the key­hole of a clo­sed door. She is loo­king back over her shoul­der with a came­ra in one hand and a key in the other. The key is made of plexi­glass and says…for a life I lived, lost and have not mourned.….until now. Signi­fying her let­ting go, having clo­sure, and moving for­ward. I have only shown this trip­tych once. For this show. I knew it was much too per­so­nal of a piece for anyone to buy. I pain­ted it for me. I’m still wor­king on that pro­cess and am loo­king for­ward to wal­king away with that key. Soon. Very soon. »

Each one of theses pain­tings can stand on its own (this being a fate suf­fe­red by many a medie­val pain­ting torn from its ori­gi­nal context by gree­dy art mer­chants and col­lec­tors), but one may gain a bet­ter unders­tan­ding by not igno­ring this sup­ple­men­ta­ry dimen­sion added by the indi­vi­dual pain­tings being part of an ensemble. As is the fact that one learns about the sto­ry behind the pain­tings, about the per­so­nal back­ground where they stem from, revea­ling the pos­sible mea­ning of the emp­ty faces, meant to be those of the artist her­self, during the dif­ferent steps of her life. It’s as if the memo­ry, his­to­ry of the human being, had been out­sour­ced, ground to pieces that one has to grab for in order to not get washed away by the stream of the pas­sing years.

À lire :
Amber Jahn - painting murals in Ocean Beach

I.

Amber Jahn, Tryptich 1
Young me sit­ting on a bench daydreaming

II.

Amber Jahn, Tryptich 2
Young girl having grown and sit­ting on the ground

III.

Amber Jahn, Tryptich 3
The girl is now an older woman