Jane Chukas
















By Aarik Danielsen (from Columbia Daily Tribune’s Art Axis November 5th)

Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. With autumn ambling by and holiday preparations on the brain, it would be both easy and forgivable to overlook a wealth of exciting art exhibits slated for November. Over the course of this calendar month, I’ll be posting something of a set of artistic public service announcements, alerts to the beauty which can be found indoors even as we enjoy the natural red-and-gold glory outside.

Already open, Columbians can see the winsome works of Illinois-based landscape painter Jane Chukasnow through December 31 in the alcove at PS: Gallery, 812 E. Broadway. Described by the gallery as “whimsically bucolic,” much of Chukas’ work is deeply rooted in her Midwestern setting and sensibilities. On a recent trip to the gallery, co-owner Jennifer Perlow mentioned Chukas was appearing, essentially, by popular demand. Something of a PS: veteran, the painter’s work has been housed in the gallery both in 2007 and 2009 and Perlow had several recent requests that her work be shown again.

Chukas’ rolling hills, verdant fields, welcoming dwellings and barns and majestic, distant horizon lines immediately place the viewer in a world that is all at once familiar and full of discovery. An examination of the works cloaks the viewer in a Midwestern chill yet comforts them with the warm possibilities awaiting just over the next hill or in the church service about to start down in the meadow. Although Chukas’ website contains no current artist’s statement, this quote on her biography page does allow the viewer to glean some insight into her process and purpose:

I largely work with oil pastel on a black surface, generally on hand prepared pastel board or watercolor paper. Some new work is acrylic or oil on a variety of surfaces. I continually experiment with different mediums and grounds. I began my working career in music. As time has gone by I have discovered a new love – visual art. But I bring music with me. Tone, color, rhythm, melody all appear in a painting in different form. But I didn’t know that until I started to paint. What a surprise to discover ‘ya gotta have rhythm!’

I have certain goals in art and whether they are achieved is up to the viewer. I think because I started as a performer before an audience, my audience is still important to me. I see art as a communication between the artist and viewer or listener. I want them to see what I see. Love what I love. Laugh when I laugh. I strive for an emotional connection through a visual language. What fun! I think it is important to find a ‘first voice’. That is not painting what you think you should. Not overlaying it with some definition of art. That’s up to the viewer anyway. Someone important whose name escapes me at the moment said, “in the end, enthusiasm is more important than discipline.” It is the artist’s main job to find that enthusiasm.


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