© 2015 by Jana Branca Fine Art

838 Mangorei Rd, Mangorei, New Plymouth, New Zealand

Atonement

My body of work consists of 15, large, white paintings, linking conceptually with my intent of this body of work. My work deals with binary oppositions: clean and dirty; pure and impure; righteousness and sin; sterility and contamination. Different people have different ideas concerning cleanliness and dirt; and yet that which is, more often than not, aspired to is humanly unachievable. It takes one speck of dust to render a clean surface "dirty".

 

I investigate ancient Levitical sacrificial aspects of atonement or purifying rituals as well as contemporary ones. I have often wondered what our contemporary sacrificial habits are, and whether or not we engage in pursuits of atonement. I have used a soldering iron and carving tools in my mark making through which I hope to offer an explanation for senseless cruelty and harshness - an attempt at personal eradication of what is deemed "filthy".

 

The manner in which I have approached my paintings carries a large weight of my concept. I have stained my surfaces with paint and have layered translucent whites over such stains in order to represent the permanence or presence of historic sins. My white paintings straddle boundaries of clean and dirty, as the presence of crisp white highlights the soiled white. I have incorporated physical sanding down of paint as mark making on my boards. This speaks of the corrosive and damaging elements of washing and suggests our often obsessive approach to disinfecting our environments. I believe pain to be a very real part of any purifying process; as fire purifies gold to give but one example; which is another reason that I have used a soldering iron to burn markings into my paint. I have also employed a lot of carving into my picture plane to repeat the notion of pain and scarification. This carving can be interpreted as reminiscent of the lashings of Christ's body during his crucifixion.

 

I think the large white paintings have a calming or soothing effect on a viewer. I have intended to create a non-threatening environment where the viewer can be drawn into the work. The viewer should be invited to interpret the work for themselves. It is interesting to let someone interpret a work of art. There are so many factors of individuality which come into play our background, our socio-political circumstances, worldview and personal convictions all influences how we see an art object, or how we feel about certain imagery. Even if the viewer is aware of my intentions he/she is going to respond in an unpredictable way.

 

The diptych in which I have rendered a measuring tape particularly addresses the measurability of purity or holiness. I want people to start thinking about degrees of cleanliness and in considering the very act of interpretation my work operates as a plumb line of the individual. What they catch or miss in my paintings might just reveal (on a very personal level) where they stand on this matter. I hope to provoke thought in and around our personal standards of sterility. AS Jesus of  Nazareth was the only religious leader to ever claim to be Deity (and thus the only one to offer a solution to sin) I have explored His ways and have contrasted them with the ways of man. I paint from a personal conviction of who Jesus Christ is. I have employed a range of imagery which should give hints as to my thoughts on the subject, but I have purposely aimed no to give it all away at first glance. I would much rather succeed in provoking thought than for my work to be boxed in a category in which it is ineffective, or ignored.