I moved to Taos, New Mexico in the summer of 1993 and have been living and making art in Taos for nearly 27 years. Painting was my initial focus in Taos and something I have returned to. I currently work in painting, printmaking and sculpture. For the first five or six years in Taos I painted in my living room and took courses in painting and life drawing with Michelle Cooke at the University of New Mexico-Taos. In 1998 several of my paintings were included in Taos: The Next Generation. During this exhibition I was encouraged by artist and educator Gary Cook to explore printmaking at the University of New Mexico-Taos. I loved printmaking and continued my studies there for many years, exploring various techniques including monotype, collograph, gum arabic transfer, etching and chine collé. I became fascinated with chine collé, a technique introduced and taught to me by Jennifer Lynch. It allowed me to incorporate elements from my collection of discarded books, ephemera and found objects into works on paper. With an etching press I unified these elements, adding unconscious drawing and other mark making.
In 2008 I was awarded a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in New York City that significantly assisted my ability to produce art. Around the same time I began to explore incorporating found objects into assemblage and using cement to transform found objects into sculpture. In the process I also became inspired to create larger cement works, adding earth, sand and recycled paper to the mix. Currently I am creating molds from recyclable packaging materials and withered plant structures which I cast to create new sculptures.
In my painting, I often incorporate my love of ephemera and drawing into the work and am currently focused on larger scale canvases. Between all the works I create, I let inspiration guide my choice of medium for a specific piece. With a primarily intuitive approach, I explore mysteries of space, subtleties of color and the divine. The element of discovery along the way offers a meditative space where the unconscious and thought meet. I am drawn to unnoticed beauty and the softening and transforming effects of nature on things that have been left in the elements or tossed aside. This dialogue between human culture, nature and time inspires me greatly.
Jan Sessler (b. 1962) has been living and working in Taos, New Mexico since 1993. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Harwood Museum of Art, the Ross Art Museum at Ohio Wesleyan University and the Dayton Art Institute. Jan has exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad, including at the U.S. Embassy in Namibia via the Art in Embassies Program. In 2008 she was awarded a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Jan holds a B.A. in International Studies and studied art at the University of New Mexico-Taos, the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and in Aix-en-Provence, France.
Jan Sessler. Traces, 2020. Acrylic, sandpaper, paper wrappings, printed charts, newspaper, charcoal, and colored pencil on canvas. 40” x 40” x 2”.
Courtesy of the artist.
Jan Sessler. Poohbah, 2019. Cement, sand, recycled paper, silver leaf, found objects. 17 ½” x 5 ¾” x 5 ¾”. Courtesy of the artist.