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Jana Brike “My Parallel Lives”

“Scout” 2013, oil on canvas, 172×77

At the centre of everything that I’ve found interesting to depict in my art so far has been the person.
In the Western world, the human being is perceived as a body, mind and some kind of social conditions or circumstances that together shape the person with his or her own story.

When people meet they first tell each other about their social circumstances and the roles they play – “I am a cook”, “I am a bookkeeper” – and so on. With children too, we tend to ask what they want to be when they grow up (i.e. what role will you play in order to legitimize your human existence), but not what dreams they dream, what they wish to experience, what they want to show us.

I’m interested in that primeval and living part of the person that feels “I am!” and for whom only later does the extension “what I am” become added as a changing, impermanent game. This is most probably sensed in childhood.

I’m interested in sensing myself as a primeval space of consciousness that cannot be examined and determined by itself because it is not phenomenal, but through which any phenomenon passes, is born, dies and is perceived, including “I” as a body or social person, as life is shaped.

This is why the works in the exhibition are symbolic but at the same time also concrete images that dwell in the psyche – a hunter, a young shepherd, bride and such like. Through these images, by adapting them, emotionally identifying with them and later abandoning them, the human experience about living life is formed. “I am…” one phenomenon or another endows this temporary experience with intimacy and individuality to form a concrete person’s one-off, unique and different world.

Jana Brike, 2013

Jana Brike takes advantage of the possibilities offered by 21st century technology to build her paintings layer by layer like the masters of the early Renaissance. The painter uses digital photography and the synthetic properties of 3D computer programmes as a tool for her paintings. She combines this with a fine and precise drawing in graphite, coloured pencils, ballpoint pen, highlighters and brush painting in oils, tempera, gouache or spray paints. This is the set of Jana Brike’s methods used to enable the painting to capture the final contact point of opposites in both material and image: artificial – natural, living – dead, beautiful – unpleasant, tempting – frightening and so on. With these visual techniques, Jana Brike constructs the setting of the paintings, the scripts of the narratives that she does not force upon the viewer but talks about them discreetly in small and modestly sized paintings.

Jana Brike (1980) has taken part in more than 100 group shows and international fairs in Latvia, Russia, Great Britain, Europe, USA and Thailand. She has had ten solo exhibitions in the USA, Latvia and Italy. In recent years her participation in The BLAB! Show art exhibitions curated by book publisher Monte Beauchamp in Los Angeles and Seattle testifies to Jana Brike’s brilliant arrival on the international art scene.