At the beginning of my career as an artist, I concentrated on painting. I’ve always had an interest in surface textures and the effects of light. In the late 1970’s, I began sewing on the canvas surfaces of my paintings, often attaching sequins and small found objects. This was the beginning of a growing thematic interest in the juxtaposition of architectural and artificial objects with natural shapes and environments. My works of the early to mid-eighties were larger and were dominated by an extensive use of small pattern. These were followed by paintings done on hard surfaces with key shapes built up by wood. Explosions, smoke, fragmenting structures, brick and masonry patterns all appeared in my work of the late eighties.
In 1990, I started making both traditional and art quilts. My quilts deal with many of the themes and abstract concerns that can be found in my paintings. The process of composing, designing and building a quilt is an important part of the work, equal to its emotional, abstract and literal content. Part of the appeal is the simple act of cutting and sewing together powerful designs. I also, experiment with embellishment by using beads, buttons and embroidery. These different techniques enrich the overall image of the quilt.
My artwork is designed to trigger particular emotions and visual associations. I choose my fabrics, patterns, and colors because of the feelings they evoke and for their implied glimpses of land, sea and man-made objects. I’m interested in conveying a sense of specific objects, surfaces and atmospheric conditions. I like the tensions that result from unusual combinations of color and pattern, from the mix of natural and industrial shapes. I also use images that for me symbolize risk taking, flight and identity. One can see birds, airplanes, rockets, outer space and water. These images reflect my continual journey towards understanding myself and my relationship with the world.
About the Artist
Jane Bassuk grew up in New York City. Ever since she was a little girl, she loved to draw and paint. Her mother took classes in painting, and Jane would work with her at the kitchen table doing pastel drawings as well as oil painting. Jane started to take art classes in her teens and attended the Art Student’s League and the New School for Social Research in Manhattan. In 1969, Jane went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she got her BFA with a major in painting and a minor in drawing. She then went to the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and got her MA and MFA in painting and photography. In 1976, she moved to Minnesota. She continues to do her art and she has exhibited in various venues throughout the Midwest. She teaches studio art full time at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.