Jane Rainey: The horizon is never still

4 - 31 July 2019

Drawing inspiration from Romanticism and traditional Japanese landscape painting, Jane Rainey's work is never a facsimile of the world around us, but instead expresses our longing for an escape into nature, tapping into a sense of magic and the inner self. Following a visit to the Chester Beatty museum in Dublin, Rainey was enthralled by its collection of Japanese artworks, in particular the Nara Ebon painted manuscripts. Essentially a device to tell mythical or religious stories, the Nara Ebon manucripts are imaginative in composition; worlds float and fold in on one another, while clouds of gold frame the images and waves move in and out of the landscapes. 

The fluidity of these images and their straddling of reality and abstraction resonated with the artist and informed her latest body of work - where waves and the horizon line viewed from the shore are recurring motifs. “In my painting, I try evoke a sense of standing at the edge of the ocean,” Rainey says. “When you first look out to the horizon line it appears static, but look more closely and you see the waves on the horizon. This is a subtle reminder of the possibility of another world, one that is perceptible but can never be reached. It is this unknown world that inspires my painting, where I strive to blend fantasy with reality and myth with observation.”

“I begin my paintings through sketching. I make visual notes of the landscape around me, paying attention to what interests me and catches my eye, usually striking compositions or natural formations. I draw quickly, often from memory, letting the drawings evolve into a world of their own. The paintings follow from the drawings, with organic brush strokes fighting against controlled planes of paint, creating a surface that ebbs and flows, drawing your eye in and around topographical details.”

Jane Rainey has shown work across Ireland. Solo shows include ‘The Ultimate Fate of the Universe’, Ards Art Centre (2017), while recent group shows include the RHA Annual Exhibition (2018), ‘Futures Series 3, Episode One’ at the RHA (2017), and ‘Headless Cities’, TULCA, Galway (2016). Recent awards include a scholarship awarded by NCAD for a Masters in Fine Art (2014), and the John and Rachel Turner Bursary Award, Ulster  University (2014). Rainey was also shortlisted for the 2019 Merrion Plinth Award.

Her work is held in various private and public collections, including the OPW State Art Collection and the Mason, Hayes and Curran corporate collection. She also created a commission for Project Art, Chapter One, Dublin, in 2017.