Snapshot: Janette K. Hopper (Denmark, 1991/92)
Light, dark, temperature, movement and texture are prime elements of my work. I am physically present in the landscape which allows that experience and awareness to drift into my subconscious and later into my paintings.
On artistic practice
I express my interest in nature and humanity through painting, printmaking, installation and performance. Light, dark, temperature, movement and texture are prime elements of my work. I am physically present in the landscape which allows that experience and awareness to drift into my subconscious and later into my paintings. The ever-transient nature of the sky and water is revealed to me in the accidental.
My present work on paper uses sumi ink wash. The colors of the sea in watercolor express my own feelings suggested by what emerges in the sky and are chosen from the vast variety of tones I have previously observed. See examples on my website.
Though I have been influenced both by JMW Turner and Romanticism and Asian art, I like what Cezanne said to describe his work “the world before humanity, chaos, virginity of the world.” These words express what I see in my works. Looking into the distance brings solace to my life and I express that best in the panoramic view. Even as in the pandemic, I have been isolated, I have developed strong feelings for the sea and observing it alone. I support leaving natural wild places for our children. Who could guess we as humans could destroy so quickly as we have, even damaging our vast oceans? As Turner was concerned about industrialization, I am concerned that we now are at the point of our very survival. Perhaps through solitude and quiet we can emerge ready to sacrifice for the future.
On the Projecto ACE,Together-Apart residency
The highlights of the recent Projecto ACE,Together-Apart residency were meeting, chatting and collaborating with many international artists and the knowledgeable directors and staff of ACE. The theme that we explored as artists was shelter. In the first project we all worked individually and I used words and photography to complete my individual exploration of shelter. I collected images from my yard and from a walk and added some words. You can see the work on the Projecto ACE website.
The First Shelter collaboration: While we had a little difficulty connecting online due to time zone differences, it all turned out to be rewarding in the end. We were interested in psychological shelters rather than physical shelters. We talked about using somatic movement to show shelter at night and shelter during the day. My husband filmed me in the dark in the back yard wearing one of the masks that I make from natural materials doing a performance. My collaborator, a Venezuelan living in Montreal and a beautiful dancer, made and filmed movements inspired by mine. She put them together and we edited by sending the video back and forth. The second part which was filmed in daytime included a third artist who is in Australia and from Buenos Aires. I sent images and videos of me performing in the woods and these were combined with the other two performance parts on video. I sent some of my prints inspired by woodlands and they were integrated into the final video we decided to name “Quintessence”. The combination of all our work was amazing because of the layering of the images and the way we had expressed an inner shelter. You can watch "Quintessence 1" and "Quintessence 2".
Second collaboration: I worked with two new artists on this project and we decided that we would make survival kits. We exchanged some initial photographs and each of us made a beautiful and meaningful selection of objects with lists. I developed a real magic kit of objects that not only changed your perspective but fixed the problem. I like to think that in the future we will develop ways of making the world a better place that we can’t quite imagine now. I loved the brainstorming and sharing of ideas that went on in the group. Watch “Items for Real Magic - Survival Kit 2”.
For me the sharing of the work and seeing and hearing about everyone else’s work whether your collaborators or not brought all of us very close. The combined energy and comradery that developed was wonderful. We were truly together apart.
We also had a final private chat with the amazing staff about our work in the end and were given many new resources to use online.
While every residency is unique, Simposio Internacional de Artistas XIX (SIANOJA XIX) that I attended in Spain last year was also beyond imagination. I was one of 14 artists that were all working and staying in a beautiful Boutique hotel in northern Spain. The studio I was given had a view directly of the ocean. We were wined and dined every day and had ample time to work on our art and visit with the other artists about what they were doing. We had a curator, artist, or museum director speak every night. We also had the opportunity to visit galleries, a vineyard, the Paleolithic caves and an evening of flamenco dancing. The closing event had a chamber concert, many visitors and patrons and I was able to collaborate in a performance piece with a Mexican performance artist and painter as part of the closing exhibit and events. 2020 was the 20th year that Manolo Sáenz-Messía had organized this wonderful gift, SIANOJA, for fellow artists from around the world.
The hardest part about the virtual residency was that everyone still had all their home responsibilities and then time zones. What a great and inventive way to have a world-wide residency during a pandemic. In the end, both experiences were so rich and moving and I will stay in touch with these wonderful artist friends for the rest of my life.
On Fulbright experiences
I was already an established artist when I went to Denmark for a teaching fellowship. I was in Aarhus, a university city and a very culturally rich city. While I was teaching during the week, I had ample free time to develop a series of sky water paintings in the basement where I taught on weekends and evenings. I rode my bicycle to teach and I hauled the stretcher bars, paints, and linen on my bicycle. I was inspired by the North Sea which I saw every day and then by a trip to Skagen on the far northern coast and by the many paintings by famous Danish artists from the 19th century there.
In Copenhagen, I was influenced and inspired by the many painters of the golden age but as well contemporary Danish painters. I was not familiar with these artists but Danish design and paintings had a real impact on my ideas. I had a visit from the Danish Fulbright officials and when they saw my paintings, they wanted me to exhibit in Copenhagen. They gave me a stipend to rent a car to take the paintings on the ferry and found a beautiful gallery with a lovely reception to occur at the end of my stay. When I checked out the space before the exhibit, there was a very narrow room where my large panoramic oil paintings would not fit. I decided to make a small series of linocuts of the Danish scene and lovers.
This started me off in printmaking which I have continued to this day. I joined a group of Danish and European artists in a group Paleur International and we exhibited together and installed the shows in amazing venues throughout Denmark. The group insisted that I leave my art for them to continue showing even after I left which they did. When I came back from Denmark, I was offered an exhibit in NYC in the Lincoln Center and also in Washington DC. My artistic career was fast forwarded not only by what I learned but also by the prestigious Fulbright name.
I also brought back with me the prints my students made to share in the United States about Aarhus and their life there. I had many exhibits of all this work but have not found a permanent home for the students’ prints to date.
I was in the Peace Corp in Colombia as well as on the Fulbright in Denmark. I also spent many summers in Germany and traveled and continue to travel and exhibit. I still have friends in Aarhus that are very dear to me. I have met them in other places in the world and also had them as guests in the United States. I can only say that our relationships as members of the global community are very important to me and I continue to seek out those experiences. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share with others. Please feel free to contact me.
As a recipient of two prestigious Fulbright Scholarships one from Denmark and one from the United States, Janette K. Hopper spent a year teaching and painting in Denmark and showing in European one-person exhibits. Since receiving her MFA from the University of Oregon, she has taught in Denmark, Italy, Germany and in the United States. Her works have been shown in over 250 shows and also collected extensively in over 40 public museums, public venues, colleges and universities and in many private galleries nationally and internationally principally in Germany, France, The Netherlands, Canada, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Denmark and the US. In 2019, she participated in the Simposio Internacional de Artistas residency in Noja Spain (SIANOJA XIX) and this year the ACE Together-Apart, a virtual residency in Buenos Aries, Argentina.