Jane Callister is a California-based artist and professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA. Her psychologically charged work spans drawing, painting, sculpture, and installation.
For over 25 years Jane Callister has exhibited in many notable exhibitions including "Cosmic Lingerie" at Gallerie Anton Weller, Paris, France in 2001; The 1st Prague Biennale at the Veletrizni Palace Prague, Czech Republic in 2003; "Extreme Abstraction" at the Albright Knox Museum, Buffalo, New York in 2005; "Step into Liquid" (curated by Dave Hickey for the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design in Santa Monica, CA in 2005; "Space-rocks" at Susanne Vielmetter: Los Angeles Projects and the 2006 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, CA, as well as exhibitions such “British Invasion” at MOAH (Museum of Art and History), Lancaster, CA 2016; “Art Toronto: Focus on Los Angeles”, 2017. She had recent solo exhibitions at Royale Projects, Los Angeles in 2018 as well as “It Started With a Crocofish: “New Drawings by Jane Callister” at the VITA Arts Center, Ventura, CA in 2019. She was included in the exhibit “Common Ground: Artists reimagining Community” at the William Roland Art Gallery” at Cal Lutherin University, 2022. Callister’s work has also been included in numerous museum and gallery exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, Mexico City, San Francisco, Chicago, Sweden, Austria, London and Germany.
Callister’s work has been featured in notable publications including: "Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting" published by Phaidon Press, 2002; "Abstract Painting: Concepts and Techniques" by Vicky Perry published by Watson & Guptil, 2005 and "LA Artland" by Chris Krauss published by Blackdog Press, London, 2006. Her work is also in numerous private collections as well as The New Museum, New York; The Albright Knox Museum, Buffalo, NY and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA. In 2019 ArtSlant, an online Archive that featured her work, was accepted into the Library of Congress and The NYARC (New York Resources Consortium).
The Other Side of Reality 2022
"The Other Side of Reality" is a new series of intermedia works that explore the surreal experience of the half awake state when you know you are still dreaming but occupy a liminal space where reality and unreality coexist. When we daydream, for example (of either the past or the future) we are essentially inventing another mind-space. Mentally we are somewhere else. An alternate place where the mind is free from the concrete present. Images and feelings float around us, sometimes converging and at other times incongruously clashing. Like night dreams they offer opportunities to contemplate important cultural issues, as well as our own lives, from a different vantage point.
This recent experimental series of hybrid work, that utilizes small sculptures (no larger than 3 inches high) in staged environments, refers to both the act of play and an imaginary performance. The small sculptures that were made of air-dry clay during the Covid-19 lockdown (not having access to a kiln) are like toy figurines in ominous spaces that are aesthetically and conceptually related to noir films. Though purposely humorous I hope they also generate a sense of psychological suspense, as if waiting for them to move or speak while frozen in place.
Movie Minds: Memories of Film 2021-2022
‘Movie Minds: Memories of Film" that began in 2021 is my most recent series of small drawings (9x12") that are based on films I watched growing up that had entertained, frightened or impacted my ideas about the world. Supported by a faculty research grant in the Spring of 2022, they are not meant to be puzzles for viewers to guess but rather to trigger a sense of recognition that you can’t quite put your finger on. Some may be clearer than others. Some an audience may never have seen but I hope together they form a sequence that suggests a narrative is at play. One that conjures other images in the mind’s eye of the viewer and leads to thoughts or memories of their own. Like the inherent malleability of memory (and loss of it over time) I also hope they convey the idea that thought is fleeting and that memories recur in varied states. Like dreams they are fragments and hints that reflect our own experiences and inform who we are today.
Once Upon a Crocofish (installation) 2022
Installation view at The William Rolland Gallery, California Lutheran University as part of the Exhibition "Common Ground: Artists Reimagining Community", curated by Jennifer Vanderpool. See image below.
“Once Upon a Crocofish”, 2022 alludes to a series of works I began in 2019 entitled “It Started with a Crocofish” in which I drew silly hybrid animals and surreal figures which later lead to a series of tiny figurines that I made during the Covid-19 pandemic. Unlike my usual large-scale, dramatic, abstract paintings this quietly entertaining body of work was a way of uplifting people’s spirits amidst the turmoil of our cultural upheaval. The opportunity to exhibit these works at Cal Lutheran enabled me to put them together into a format that creates a domestic setting, including a comfortable chair to rest and reflect on the isolation in our homes we all experienced during lockdown. Against a vibrant, painted wall the objects sit on shelves, alongside the small framed drawings, further emphasizing an intimate experience.
It Started With a Crocofish (sculptures) 2020
These surreal sculptures, that I made during the Covid-19 shutdown, in 2020 developed out of a recent series of drawings I began when I was visiting my family home on the Isle of Man (a small island between England and Ireland). To entertain Daisy, my six year old grand-niece, I would draw silly monsters and hybrid animals like a crocofish or banana-mouse for her. One day, while sitting quietly with my father-who was on chemotherapy at the time-he looked over and let out a loud belly laugh at what I was drawing. Seeing how they lifted his spirits I asked him for suggestions too. “A man with legs for wheels” he’d say, or “a woman with an elephant’s body”. I would then embellish them further, like a game of exquisite corpse, and watch as his face would light up. As the series multiplied my whole family began chipping in with more challenging suggestions. This project may seem like an anomaly in the context of my "usual" work however it is evident that the beginnings of these humorous intentions began in a previous Manx project entitled "Found In Translation" from 2010-2012 (shown below).
It Started with a Crocofish (drawings) 2019
These deliberately silly drawings, that began in 2019 and later developed into the crocofish sculptures above, continued after no longer having access to my studio due to Covid and not having space to work on the large paintings I had been doing before the shutdown. Working small like this gave me time to slow down and contemplate how to exist in this new reality, while honoring my fathers memory, whose great sense of humor inspired them.
Imaginary Film Stills From a Movie That Never Existed, 2014-present
This ongoing series of digital prints incorporates my interests in film, sculpture and painting combined into one. Using small (acrylic on foam) sculptures and miniature figures, set against various painted back-drops, I create a space that conjures an imaginary narrative to suggest a movie or animation. The result is a static image to be printed in various scales, and viewed in sequence, further suggesting a sense that they are from a moving source.
Found In Translation 2012
"Found in Translation" 2010-2012 came about after reflecting on previous paintings and installations, which often used landscape based references. From those projects I became aware of how the abstracted land formations were less resemblances of actual places than imaginary vistas conjured from many sources. Analyzing them further it was intriguing to discover familiar elements and to try to locate their source (the toxic colors perhaps a reference to the artificiality of Las Vegas where I attended graduate school in the 90’s) or the suggestion of stony remnants of a Celtic ruin or cliffs and waterfalls reminiscent of features on the Isle of Man where I grew up. It was these ponderings that lead me to view the works as a kind of coded inventory of remembrances. In attempting to re-discover the origins of my identity (through de-abstracting my work towards representional objects) I began to fabricate another version of The reverse trajectory of "Found in Translation" correlates with the process of remembering: the cognitive equivalent of a game ofwhispers.
Tastes Like Pink (Smells Like Burning) 2010
"Tastes Like Pink" was an installation project, that I did for Royale Projects in Palm Desert in 2010, that expanded a single painting into a series of related sculptures and objects dealing with issues of firestorms and natural disasters through a delirious palette of candy pinks, pistachio greens and creamy orange hues, enveloping the viewer in a visual toxic spill of hightened reality and anxiety.
"Space-rocks" was the title of a solo exhibition at Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, Los Angeles, CA in 2006. A series of large-scale acrylic paintings on canvas, with explosive splashes and spills of paint, created exuberant spaces that appear to be in various states of destruction as though a cataclysmic event had taken place and ravaged the earth.
"Velocity" was a special project I did for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara, CA in 2007 that incorporated large paint "stickers" made by pouring acrylic onto sign-film and cutting it out. I then placed it below the painting and across the walls and the floor creating a visual mudslide with carved foam stepping-stones and a small shelf with a miniature figure reading a book oblivious to the environmental devastation all around him.
Sticker Installations 2003-2008
This series of large-scale mural projects were made by pouring acrylic paint onto adhesive backed sign-film which were then cut out and attached directly to the wall. They were exhibited in a variety of venues such as the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, Nina Menocal Gallery, Mexico City and South 1st gallery, Brooklyn, New York.
Liquid Landsapes 2003-2006
In this series from 2003-2006 I created paintings by pouring acrylic paint directly onto a canvas then manipulating it to create sprawling landscape vistas of floating mountains, landscape clouds and psychedelic volcanic erruptions. The process of moving the paint around (by pouring, tilting, twisting and dripping it etc. while wet) generates the final static image. Using gravity to create the image the outcome cannot be totally controlled or preconceived. It becomes what it looks like through invisible means. The different thicknesses of paint, traveling at different speeds etc. cause the final shape of the image.
Cosmic Lingerie 1998-2000
My “Cosmic Lingerie” paintings, 1998-2000 were highly textured emphasizing surface, physicality and humor in relation to a variety of ideas such as materiality, pleasure, taste and sexuality and an emerging dialogue between nature and culture. With titles like "Black Holes in my Stockings" and "Cosmic Drip" this series incorporated black acrylic paint and caulk poured (and squeezed through a cake decorating nozzle) onto the canvas referencing the physicality of paint but also alluding to the body as a site for pleasure and cosmic reflection.
Architecture (AKA the Virtual Drip Project) 2000
In 1999 I received a UCSB faculty development award to create a large-scale installation project that was selected for exhibition by Annie Philbin (Director of the UCLA Hammer Museum). It was shown at The Contemporary Arts Forum, in Santa Barbara California in 2000. Comprising a diverse range of media such as paint, wall texture, projected digital video and sculptures it was designed to create a dialogue between mediums and recast painting as a part of a larger context.
2019 “It Started with a Crocofish”, CabadaGray Gallery, at the VITA arts center Ventura, CA
2018 “Baroco-pop”, Royale Projects: DTLA, (Down Town LA), Los Angeles, CA
2015 “Transending Cool: California abstraction”, Royale Projects, Palm Desert, CA
2010 “Tastes Like Pink…Smells Like Burning”, Royale Projects, Indian Wells, CA
2007 “Velocity”, solo installation @ Bloom Projects, Contemporary Arts Fourm, Santa Barbara, CA
2006 “Magic Landscapes”, Michael Berger Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
2006 “Jane Callister: Pop Rocks”, Susanne Vielmetter :Los Angeles Projects, CA
2006 “Broken Morning”, solo project for the Califoria Biennial, Orange Museum of Art
2005 “Re-Imagining Landscape”, two person Installation at The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA
2005 “Bonkers”, two person Installation at Nina Menocal Gallery, Mexico
2004 “New Work”, Jane Callister at Susanne Vielmetter :Los Angeles Projects, CA
2003 “Sadie Hawkins Dance", two person Collaboration Southfirst, New York, NY,
2003 “Liquid landscape", Peter Miller Gallery, Chicago, IL
2003 “The Expanded Sticker Project", Southfirst Art, Brooklyn, NY
2005 “Step into Liquid” curated by Dave Hickey, Ben Maltrz Gallery Otis College of Art Los Angeles CA, USA
2005 “Wall Painting” University of Texas, San Antonio Gallery Curated by Frances Colpitt
2004 "Just Visiting”, Huntington Beach Art Center, Huntington Beach, CA
2004 "WivesHusbands", collaborations @ domestic setting, Los Angeles, CA, curated by Michael Gold
2004 "Wunderkammer II: Paisajes”, Nina Menocal Gallery, Mexico City, Mexico.
2004 "It’s Not About Sex!”, LUXE Gallery, New York, NY, with Cecily Brown, Lee Gordon, Robert Mapplethorpe
2004 "Adaptation Syndrome: Painting in Contemporary Image Culture", The Hand Workshop Art Center and Reynolds Gallery, curated by Dinah and Paul Ryan
2004 “Possible worlds” School of Fine Arts Gallery (SOFA), Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. Curated by Dana Sperry
2003 "The 2003 Prague Biennale", Veletrzni Palace Museum of Contemporary Art, Prague, curated by Lauri Firstenberg
2003 "The New York Armory Show 2003", Susanne Veilemetter: Los Angeles
2002 "Abstract-ed", LIMN Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Curated by Christine Duval
2002 “Vitamin P”, University Art Museum, Santa Barbara, CA 2002
2001 "Painting as Paradox", Artsists Space, NY, Curated by Lauri Firstenberg
2001 "21: Paintings from LA" The Robert V. Fullerton Art Museum, California State University, San Bernadino, CA. Curated by James Gobel
2001 "Wheeling:Krad-Kult- Tour", Jette Rudolf Gallerie, Berlin, Germany. Curated by Marcus Sendlinger (travelling to Natalie De light gallery, Frankfurt, Germany 2002, POST, Los Angeles, USA; London and Vienna in 2003)
2001 "Live like there's Yes tommorrow" Sala Diaz, San Antonio, TX
2001 "Las Vegans" James Kelley Contemporary, Santa Fe , NM, Curated by Dave Hickey
2001 “Kungliga Palaset”, Konsthogskolan, Umea Universitet, Sweden “Fresh”,
2000 Altoids Curiously Strong and Original Collection, New Museum, NY (Travelling show)
2000 Cal’s Art, Sampling California Painting, University of North Texas, Art Gallery,
2000 The Dreams, Stuff is made of, Frankfurt ArtFair, Germany. Curated by David Pagel Pornoglossdope, Southfirst Art, Brooklyn, New York
2000 “Emerging US Artists”, Frankfurt Art Fair, Germany
2018 Baroco-Pop, self-published book project of Barocopop @Royale Projects, Los Angeles, CA
2018 Art And Cake, Shana Nys Dambrot, Review of Baroco Pop at Royale projects, Los Angeles.
2016 Museum of Art and History (MOAH), Lancaster, CA. British Invasion exhibition catalogue.
2016 Jennifer Vanderpool curator “Imaginary Selves”. Catalogue essay, University of La Verne, CA.
2016 University of Memphis Press, “The Pinch”. Journal. Fall 2016, Volume 36, Issue 2
Ciara Ennis, “Pictures of Everything”. Catalogue essay, University of La Verne, CA
2014 Museum of Fine Art, University of Arkansas, “Stationary Realms”, exhibition catalogue.
2014 Museum of Art, University of Santa Clara, CA, “Interrupting Entropy”, exhibition catalogue.
2013 Anthony Zee, Einstein Gravity in a Nutshell, Cover Art, Published by Princeton University.
2013 Nancy Reyner, “Acrylic Illumination”, North Light Books, Blue Ash, OH
2012 Joseph Woodard, Abstract Energies, Local Colors, Scene arts, News Press, Santa Barbara CA, Review of “Persistence”at Atkinson Gallery
2012 Marianne Morild, Garageland, Art, Culture and Ideas Magazine, “Paintscapes” Published by Transition Editions, London, UK
Phil Oppenheim, ARTPAPERS, review of the Las Vegas Diaspora exhibit review January/February 2008
Robert L Pincus, Art Lld: Westcoast Art + Design Magazine, CA Review of Las Vegas Diaspora curated by Dave Hickey 2008 Kirsten Swenson,
ART IN AMERICA, "Sin City Slickers" review of Las Vegas Diaspora, Februaury 2008
2008 Richard Chang, OC Register, Review of the Las Vegas Diaspora at the Laguna Art Museum , March 4 2008
2007 Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, Calendar"Five Artists Who Help Make the Scene in LA" Dec. 2, 2007 ( w/large full color image on the front page.
2007 Steve Friess, Vegas Magazine, "Rebels With a Cause", Feature article about the Las Vegas Diaspora Exhibition. Dec. 2007
2007 Shana Nys Dambrot Faster ab… ex kill kill kill!”catalogue essay for Velocity installation @ SBCAF Santa Barbara, CA
2006 California Biennial Exhibition Catalog, Orange County, CA Christopher Knight, Los Angeles. Review of 2006 California Biennial, Orange County, CA
David Pagel, Review of “space rocks” at Susanne Vielmetter, Los Angels projects, July 2006
2006 Eve Wood “The Wondrously Strange and Sumptuous Sacrilusciousness of Jane Callister and Jennifer Vanderpool”, essay for Sacriluscious exhibition at Green leaf gallery Whittier College, CA
Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times. Review of “Step into Liquid” at the Ben Maltz Galery Otis, Santa Monica CA. January 2006
2005 Chris Krauss, LA Artland, Blackdog press, London, UK November