Art by Jane Runyeon: National Art Exhibit (USA)

Artist Portfolio Magazine

National Art Exhibit

Jane Runyeon

The quick sketch
The summer of 1972 was, for Jane, transformative. She spent a semester in Florence, Italy . By the end of that summer, Runyeonʼs artistic destiny was permanently set on course.

After being awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1977 , Jane went to the Rhode Island School of Design .The University of Cincinnati awarded Jane a full scholarship to continue her studies and she completed her Master of Fine Arts in Painting in 1981.

Following the completion of her education, Runyeon went on to become an art professor for the next decade, first at the University of Colorado, Denver, and later at Albright College in her hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania. Shortly after arriving home, Jane purchased what was originally a vegetable warehouse in Shillington, and transformed it into STUDIO 105

In 1998, Runyeon founded All Together Art ,Inc. a collaborative resource for contemporary art. From that time on Runyeon has been initiating and managing creative projects for the corporate world, for community non- profits and for the art world. The companies work history includes designing stained glass for the front facade of a hospital to developing a cohesive architectural identity for a town square to paint by music participatory installations . Integral to the companies philosophy is selecting artists from various and sometimes unexpected disciplines to work together. There is exciting dialogue, insight and resolution inherent in this approach. In a time of specialization, All Together Art seeks to blend.

In the summer of 2013 a two-person exhibition titled Art In Space debuted at the Blum Gallery on the campus of College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine and at the Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park during the annual Night Skies Festival. Jane also was congratulated by First Lady of Pennsylvania, Susan Corbit, for her painting, Brush Creek at the prestigious Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2013. Upcoming events include an installation at the iconic Empire State Building, and a guest residency, lecture and exhibition titled The Library of Dreams:Collage 007 this coming January 2015 at The Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, Florida.

Runyeonʼs primary painting studio is in the Fairy Silk Mill, a renovated historic warehouse in Reading, Pennsylvania. She lives in a cottage in the woods with her German Short-Hair Pointer, Meadow Lark, and her husband, whose name happens to be Art.

Jane Runyeon

Biography
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, the third of four siblings, Jane Runyeonʼs early life was one of adventures in culture, nature and imaginative play. Her father, Bill, a renowned surgeon and fisherman, and stay-at-home mother, Jane, gave birth in succession to another Bill, then Frank then Jane, who was named for her grandmother, and younger sister, Marian. Subsequently the family tree sprouted two more Bills, one more Frank, making the family tally a total of three Jane’s, four Bills and three Frank’s.

Illustrious ancestors included two U.S. presidents, James Madison and Zachery Taylor, but no artists. Jane’s great-grandmother Lilly was, however, an extremely talented seamstress, who could look at a dress or draperies and then reproduce them to fit a lady or any room. Lilly’s banker husband held the traditional view of the early 20th Century, that it was not appropriate for his wife to have a formal business, so she made exquisite beaded dresses, full-length tailored coats and evening bags for family and friends.

The Runyeon family’s freedom of spirit was led by her mother, a lover of dogs, swimming, literature and fine art. Older brother Frank possessed an infectious humor about life and creating something from nothing that was at once delightful and inspiring. A gifted pianist, Frank would conspire with Jane to organize elaborate annual neighborhood talent shows, with dreams of becoming regulars on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show”.

Later brother Frank went on to work in theatre in New York City and then Los Angeles. He was a regular on the soap opera, “As the World Turns,” opposite actress Meg Ryan. One of the episodes featured a scene that took place in an art gallery, so Frank suggested that the producers take a look at Jane’s portfolio. This led to Jane’s sculptures and abstract canvases being exhibited in the TV art gallery. It wasn’t the Carson show, but it was national television nonetheless.

At an early age, Jane held a fascination with art, from the paintings in her family home to Alexander Calderʼs “Circus” at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Calder’s transformation of everyday objects into art piqued her interest; Jane never looked at wire coat hangers in the same way again. Runyeonʼs first venture into making art was at age eight, when her Christmas list was composed of only paint-by-numbers kits. Jane worked secretly on these all winter long in the attic attached to her bedroom. When they were completed she quietly stuffed them into the back of her closet never to be shown to anyone. She did not revisit the notion of painting for a long time. However, Jane’s exposure to culture through her family, going to art museums, lectures, concerts, theatre and ice skating under the stars, continued to broaden her artistic horizons.

Jane went to college at Indiana University, Bloomington, where she studied Fine Art, French and Art History. Like many young artists, she looked to her forbearers, including Matisse, Kiefer, Nolde, Cezanne and Hans Hoffman in hopes of finding her voice. The British professor Roger Tibbitts, and renowned American painter Robert Barnes often spoke about William Turner. They both expressed to Jane how her technical approach to the canvas and her philosophy about painting seemed to echo Turner’s drive to express the power of Mother Nature and the connection to the Divine.

The summer of 1972 was, for Jane, transformative. She spent a semester in Florence, Italy “eating gelato and studying art history with Professor Guasconi”. The Galleria dell Accademia became Janeʼs favorite haunt, for its architecture and masterpieces by Michelangelo, Botticelli and Giambologna. Wandering the long hallway filled with Michelangelo’s non-finito sculptures and the sun-drenched dome with The David inspired musings about how humans experience the creative process, both its beauty and its strife. By the end of that summer, Runyeonʼs artistic destiny was permanently set on course.

After being awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1977, Jane went to the Rhode Island School of Design to study with Richard Merkin and Bruce Helander. It was during this time that Jane discovered the magical boxes of Joseph Cornell. She began making collages and working with found objects. Jane had her first successful solo exhibition at RISD, titled “50 Small Collages”. The University of Cincinnati awarded Jane a full scholarship to continue her studies and she completed her Master of Fine Arts in Painting in 1981.

Photographing her chaotic studio, interactive installations and found object sculptures dominated Runyeonʼs creative ideas. Chairs were often woven together with empty paint cans, paint brushes, real flowers, keys, window frames, and neon light so the viewer could be part of the artwork. Titles and incorporating language became important. Janeʼs thesis stated “the creative process was sacred, ever changing and therefore more significant than the completed art object,” a concept that is still relevant to her mature work.

Following the completion of her education, Runyeon went on to become an art professor for the next decade, first at the University of Colorado, Denver, and later at Albright College in her hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania. Shortly after arriving home, Jane purchased what was originally a vegetable warehouse in Shillington, and transformed it into STUDIO 105.

Famed mushroom chef and restaurateur, Jack Czarnechi, persuaded her to head the design of his new restaurant, Bistro 614. She found it exciting to orchestrate the variety of design elements from seating to lighting and stained glass windows. Shortly after completing the restaurant, Jane was commissioned to design and execute several major stained glass projects: The Heart Center at the Lehigh Valley Hospital, The Reading Hospital, and a 12ʼ x 45ʼ artwork for Swamp Lutheran Church.

She spent the next couple of years in the studio, refining her landscape and seascape work to find a pure statement about the seasons of the Northeast. She challenged herself to create a series of works all the same size, 38” x 50”, relating to the specific times of the day or year. This body of work continues today as the Woodland series. The forest, night sky, libraries, skyscrapers, the sea, landscapes and the wind are recurring themes in her work, about which the late New York Times art critic and friend, William Zimmer, once said: “These paintings are intuitive, smart and quite beautiful”. Runyeonʼs lush expressionistic abstract landscapes, seascapes and skyscapes are fueled by the unexpected twists of Mother Nature, while her collage works incorporate everyday objects, such as keys, postcards, credit cards, maps and books into engaging autobiographical statements.

In 1998, Runyeon founded All Together Art ,Inc. a collaborative resource for contemporary art. Going into her own business, Jane heeded the advice from a lecture by Dale Chihuly at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, in which he emphatically stated, “If you are as creative in your marketing as you are in your art, you will be a success”. Since this venture required understanding the business of art, she studied at New York University with Serge Sabarsky, German Expressionists art dealer for Egon Schielles. He impressed upon Jane the importance of listening to your clients. After reviewing her portfolio, he urged her to continue with her painting no matter what, because he felt that she had a “pure vision”.

Runyeon has certainly followed Sabarsky’s advice. She continues her painting, focusing primarily on the ethereal natural world, in series such as Galactic, Fireworks, and Woodlands to the more whimsical mixed media series such as the Libraries. In the summer of 2013 a two-person exhibition titled “Art In Space” debuted at the Blum Gallery on the campus of College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine and at the Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park during the annual Night Skies Festival. The show was composed of several canvases from Janeʼs spectacular “Galactic” series, and renowned glass artist, Josh Simpsonʼs amazing “MegaPlanets” and “Orbs”. Joshʼs wife, NASA/Space Shuttle astronaut Cady Coleman, who had just served as technical advisor to Sandra Bullock on the film, “Gravity”, joined Josh and Jane via Skype from Mission Control in Houston for a lecture on the marriage of art and science. Both Josh and Jane have been invited to participate in the 2014 Night Skies Festival along with Seattle glass artist Dale Chihuly, who will be mounting a major installation at the Schoodic Institute on the Summer Solstice of 2014. Also in 2013, two of Jane’s Library series exhibitions were held in Maine, at Sam Shawʼs Gallery in Northeast Harbor, and Northeast Harbor Public Library. Jane also was congratulated by First Lady of Pennsylvania, Susan Corbit, for her painting, Brush Creek at the prestigious Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2013. Upcoming events include exhibitions this fall at the iconic Empire State Building, and the Rose Planetarium in New York City.

Runyeon said of her work and process: “Creatively, I’ve always felt that experiences abstracted from our known world of memories are absolutely the most interesting and challenging place to start, so my work has many layers from reality and free-association, once the creative dialog begins. It is not unlike jazz improvisation, and often leads to my work having a dream-like or often other-worldly atmosphere. But it also has something that is familiar, like sprinkling Baby Powder. It draws you close to bathe in the gooey splashes of paint. The titles become clues into the full painting process: a Deja vu of floating, ambiguous, lush space. A bonfire in the fog, traffic lights blinking erratically on a rainy highway, icicles dripping orange in the sunlight, are all memorable and a bit mysterious and magical impressions. I hold these visual extravagances, and inadvertently they show up in my paintings.

“I may start a painting with the memories of the dusty light and quietness the lake in mid-April, but as I work I think of the June fireflies, a distant fisherman or the onset of darkness… how your memory recalls and weaves those moments together re-defines them in that moment on canvas while the action of painting is all-consuming. The struggle absolutely exhilarates and fascinates me.”

Runyeonʼs primary painting studio is in the Fairy Silk Mill, a renovated historic warehouse in Reading, Pennsylvania. She lives in a cottage in the woods with her German Short-Hair Pointer, Meadow Lark, and her husband, whose name happens to be Art.

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Title Library Of Jazz Medium Collage & Mixed Media On Paper Size 46X36
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Title The Advantage Of Travel Medium Collage & Mixed Media On Paper Size 46X36
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Title Into the Depths Medium Mixed Media On Wood Size 23X12

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