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Inside the Art: Janet Inman

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Artist Janet Inman began working at Gateway Arts in 1996, and has been a significant creative fixture within the studios ever since.  Over the course of her decades long career, Inman has developed a distinct artistic voice.  She enjoys making works of art in a dainty style, almost emulating herself and her own petite stature. Working primarily representationally, her gentle and considerate nature informs her art as she captures the most fundamental aspects of each subject she renders.

“I like it [at Gateway]. I make pictures and small stuff. When I finish my artwork I feel happy, because I make everybody happy. I make my friends happy.”
– Janet Inman, Gateway Artist

Artist Janet Inman experiencing William Forsythe’s “Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time” at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston.

Recently, as part of Gateway’s Community Integration initiative programming, artists ventured to the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) for the William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects exhibition.  An interactive and movement-based exhibition, Forsythe’s work encourages its viewers to engage in an entirely different way than is customary in a museum setting.  Community Integration Coordinator Sarah Kershaw notes that Inman was particularly inspired by the work Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, a room of unpredictably choreographed swinging pendulums viewers are invited to navigate.  The piece confronts each viewer’s perceptions of their environment and their resulting reflexes as they traverse the space in a state of perpetual avoidance.

Inman’s experience with the piece led her to envision a sculptural fiber work of her own.  The conceptual fiber piece, “Untitled”, evolved over several months of sketching, editing, and detail oriented construction.

Pictured left: Janet Inman sewing a form, an image of a finished initial sketch, and Inman showcasing a completed form during her artistic process in the fabric studio.

“Janet was very excited about the project.  She started by sketching, determining the colors she wanted to use for each structural element and the details that would make her piece uniquely hers.  Then we worked together to sew the forms, to achieve the right size, shape, and weight.” – Jill Hurley, Fabric Studio Supervisor

The finished piece hangs decoratively, largely constricted of movement.  Forsythe’s metallic and erratically animated pendulums appear re-imagined by Inman as plush pink forms arranged in a staggered yet mostly static line.  Inman’s reflection on her experience with Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, and decision to render it in a softer, smaller, and more predictable way is left open to the viewer’s interpretation.

“Untitled” can be viewed in person through June 29, 2019 in the Gateway Gallery, or in the online archive for the Staff Picks exhibition.

Janet Inman. Untitled. Fibers. 19 x 38 x 3 inches. $300. Staff Picks.