Janet Melrose in her own words..
“I have always been interested in nature and the way our life is affected by it. I make drawings of plants, birds, animals and insects which live in the area which I also occupy. I am acutely aware of the fragile balance in which we all exist."
My paintings are my way of exploring my environment. At one level they record incidents which I have seen: roe-deer disappearing into the depths of the wood; our dogs standing still sniffing the air for clues.
At another level they make connections with memories and ideas I have from childhood songs and pieces of poetry. I created a series of paintings which began with remembering the words from a song sung to me as a child “ if you go down to the woods today”. This both enthralled and frightened me and it is with this feeling that I make these paintings.
I want my work to contain only that which is necessary. I want the colour and marks made to be carefully placed on the paper or canvas and to feel as if everything is hanging in the balance”.
For me, Janet is an awesome observer of the small things that can sneak past your notice; tiny animals, half remembered noises and feelings, fleeting stories that we can all recognise.
These pocket narratives and memories are presented to us in gloriously simple fashion - no spare ornamentation or flourish to distract from the communication of truth.
I was recently reminded by another artist that our medieval ancestors believed birds to be the souls of the departed; Janet's birds have that kind of magic.
A kind of wonder suffuses the images, revealing the simple spirituality that we can have in conversation with the nature that exists in the margins of 'our' world.
Setting up the show and framing some of the work is a slow process with so much to cause me to sit and gaze....