Jane Sybilla Fordham studied fine art (painting) for four years at Middlesex and Brighton, after college she set up the prestigious Red Herring Studios in Brighton with a few friends which is now celebrating it's twentieth year.
She has had a diverse career exhibiting paintings, installations and theatre set design in the UK and abroad. For the past ten years she has been working in the public art arena, commissioned by companies such as McAlpine construction company, the C.E.O. of Kimberly-Clark in Dallas, Texas and local authorities in the UK including two pieces that contributed to the civic award winning Brighton seafront development.
In 1995 she studied traditional Italian mosaic installation under Felix Cecconi and continues to expand on her considerable range of skills using technologically advanced materials combined with traditional techniques.
Jane's painting has been a constant throughout her various public art work over the years and as she says it is 'the source of all my ideas, it is where I think'. Her paintings have been commissioned by Anita Roddick for the launch of the body shop's Bergamot and Hemp ranges, and by Fiachre Gibbons, arts correspondent for the Guardian.
I paint in oil on wood, I also make public art pieces in mosaic and stone to commission, increasingly I find myself being drawn ever more strongly back towards the intimacy and immediacy of painting.
In my paintings of figures I try to capture the essence of the moments of wondering, a timeless place of aloneness, waiting and searching. They are universal portraits, not a specific person but a familiar feeling at the centre of us all.
Some of the portraits take the guise of imaginary still-lifes, the human presence emerges from the atmosphere surrounding and imbued within the objects lingering like an atmosphere from a dream. As when treasured possessions take on the essence of the treasurer.
I make paintings in groups of four or five, surrounding myself with them all at once in the studio, circling back to them repeatedly until the atmosphere is right. The experience is not dissimilar to being in the intimate presence of friends at dinner. I converse with the paintings through the paint; their characters emerge with continued attention.
The texture of the oil paint is rich and luscious in contrast with the worn wood surfaces I use, the wood often suggests a tabletop on which a scenario takes place amongst the cups, fruit and bowls. They are unframed pieces, the uneven quality of the wood finish is an integral part of the work. The work should be considered and hung as an object as much as a painting.
There are invocations of the spirituality of icon painting, of the contemplative symbolic archetypes of the tarot in my work, these are areas to which I feel an affinity.