Janette Kerr HRSA PPRWA

Janette Kerr

A thousand kilometres between – from Shetland to Skagaströnd

14 May – 2 July 2022

Janette Kerr is an experimental contemporary artist whose work explores the boundaries between what is felt and what is seen in wild windswept places. She paints the weather, sea, light and wind, the more energetic the better, working both outside en plein air and in the studio. Her fascination extends to the people who live and have lived in the places she paints. Moving between abstraction and representation, she carries forward the ideas of the 18th Century Romantic Sublime in paintings that embody terrifying, thrilling confrontations with nature.

“Janette Kerr, in my estimation, is the best painter of the sea in these islands… one of her greatest assets is the quality of her brushwork, … it is dynamic and suggestive, and has an organic life of its own.” Brian Fallon, 2012, Chief Critic of the Irish Times and Literary Editor, 1977-1988

Janette Kerr is known for her paintings of the far North and Arctic. She goes regularly to the Shetland Isles to work. As well as Shetland paintings, this exhibition includes works that have resulted from her time at the Nes International Art Residency, Skagaströnd, NW Iceland in 2020. Her numerous collaborative projects with other artists, historians, scientists, and geographers have included time spent studying the unpredictability of waves and wind alongside Norwegian oceanographers at the meteorological Institute in Bergen which had a profound influence on her work.

View the show

Janette Kerr’s new work is now available to buy or reserve. Please contact gallery@sladersyard.co.uk with any enquiries.

Please contact us on gallery@sladersyard.co.uk / t: 01308 459511 with any enquiries about Janette Kerr’s work.

Janette Kerr

Underpinned by her exceptional drawing skills, Janette’s relish for the physical processes of drawing and painting can be felt in the dynamic quality of her marks and brushstrokes. When not away on a residency, she divides her time between her two studios – one in the West Country near Bath, and the other in Shetland, 200 miles north of Aberdeen and west of Bergen, Norway. 

Janette Kerr has a PhD in Fine Art from the University of the West of England.  She is an Honorary Royal Scottish Academician, was President of the Royal West of England Academy of Art from 2011 to 2016 and then a Visiting Research Fellow, Fine Art, UWE Bristol. She taught full-time as a lecturer in painting, printmaking and drawing at the City of Bath College from 1980 to 1993. She has a long-standing history of showing work, exhibiting regularly across the UK and abroad. She has worked on residencies in Somerset, Wales, Ireland, Shetland, Norway and Svalbard. She has curated high profile exhibitions and their accompanying programmes. 

Her work is in national and international public collections including the Maine Maritime Museum, USA; Royal Collection, London; Shetland Arts, Shetland Isles; NorthLink Ferries, Scotland; Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Bergen, Norway; Dublin Office of Public Works; RWA Permanent Collection Tallboys Bequest Bristol; Victoria Art Gallery Print Collection, Bath; Grizedale Society, Cumbria and the Colle Verde Art Trust, Tuscany.

Janette Kerr Svalbard
Drawing on board the tall ship, Svalbard

In 2012 she took up a residency with the Meteorological Institute and the Marine Research Centre in Bergen. The Oceanographers are concerned with the study of the unpredictability of waves and wind and the constantly shifting surface of the sea. Working with them affected the way Janette looked at the sea.  Her Shetland paintings are about movement and rhythm of sea and wind, welling and breaking waves, merging of spray with air, advancing rain and mist, shafts of sunlight, peripheries, promontories, exposed headlands, edges and ledges. Add to this Janette’s profound intellectual and emotional understanding of her subject matter, her instinct to embed herself in the landscape both physical and cultural and the rich depth of these paintings begins to be explained.

For Sladers Yard’s exhibition Igniting Sight: artists influenced by JMW Turner, Janette Kerr wrote:

‘Whenever I go to Tate Britain I make my way to the room at the far end of the Clore Gallery, and seek out the late sea paintings by Turner. Removed from their frames, the paintings could have been made yesterday; surfaces of loosely scumbled paint and scratched lines holding the full sound and fury of the sea. Water, land, and sky merge and swirl together, waves rise and crash and wind howls; a mass of moving paint. Some of these paintings are unfinished, and perhaps this adds to their immediacy of experience. While tales of his being tied to a ship’s mast are apocryphal, Turner’s sketchbooks are full of plein air drawings of a sea seen and felt from the swaying deck of a boat; a sea I recognise because I too have drawn from boats in wild seas. I know that such experiences are essential to making paintings in this way. My paintings reflect my own struggle to capture the nature of the marine environment, a knowledge attainable only through immersion within it, not merely as a spectator but an active participant. Painting is dialogue between visual thinking and the activity of the body – a pushing and pulling between mind and physical activity – between a surface of paint and the movement of the sea; marks built up, scrubbed out, overlapped, drawn and scored into; layers of transparent and opaque paint that both conceal and reveal the history of a painting made over time, as the sea ebbs and flows. In Turner’s late powerful and sublime works the critical language of modern and contemporary art emerges, freeing painting from the conventions of the early Victorian academy. For me Turner was the first of the abstract painters, and one to whom I, as a 21st century artist, owe a huge debt.’

11 Responses to Janette Kerr HRSA PPRWA

  1. Pingback: Best of the West – June 2022 – The Floating Circle

  2. Pingback: Three Shows in One | Sladers Yard

  3. Pingback: Currents opens tomorrow! | Sladers Yard

  4. Pingback: Weekend 3/4 March | Sladers Yard

  5. Nora buttimer says:

    Love your work Janette I paint the aquatic theme myself mostly the sea

  6. Pam pope says:

    Love your radiance painting what is the price please?

  7. lisa says:

    Just been introduced to your work.
    Love……especially the green wave painting

  8. Pingback: Wave Energy: paintings by Alex Uxbridge and Janette Kerr PRWA Hon RA opens Saturday 27th April! | Sladers Yard

  9. Pingback: Artists’ Talk: Janette Kerr PRWA Hon RA and Alex Uxbridge this Friday night. | Sladers Yard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.