Janette Kerr is a painter deeply embedded in place. She works at the interface between land, sea and historical experience. She writes, ‘My paintings represent immediate responses to sound and silences within the landscape around me; they are about movement and the rhythms of sea and wind, swelling and breaking waves, the merging of spray with air, advancing rain and mist, glancing sunlight - elements that seem to be about something intangible.’
Called ‘the best painter of the sea in these islands’ by Brian Fallon, Chief Critic of the Irish Times, Kerr delights in foul weather. Drawn to the perimeters of land, her work is an index of edges and ledges, exposed headlands and wind-swept seas. She writes: ‘My process of making paintings involves extremes and instabilities: peripheries and promontories – places of rapid change and shifts, both physically and meteorologically’.
Kerr is not somebody who makes meticulous studies of landscape. Beyond mere topography, but with a nod towards the Northern Romantic tradition in landscape painting, her practice remains contemporary and experimental.
For the last 10 years, her work has focussed on Shetland and the far north. She travels extensively - always to wild sea and weather-scoured places - sailing along the coast of Svalbard in the High Arctic on board a tall ship called the Antigua with a group of international artists. More recently she has been on an international residency in Skagastrond in NW Iceland.
In Norway, she worked alongside Norwegian oceanographers at the meteorological Institute in Bergen studying the unpredictability of waves and wind, which had a profound influence on her work.
Other residencies include Cill Rialaig in Ireland and The Booth in Shetland, and working with schools in Somerset and Wales.
She has a strong track record of initiating/working collaboratively, most recently developing Confusing Shadow with Substance, a film and sound installation in Shetland, a Creative Scotland funded project.
Kerr has a PhD in Fine Art, she is an Hon Royal Scottish Academician, Past President of the Royal West of England Academy of Art, and a Visiting Research Fellow in Fine Art, UWE Bristol. Exhibiting regularly across the UK and abroad, her work is held in national and international collections.
I write a lot about my practice so please do have a look at my Blogs: https://www.janettekerr.co.uk/blog/