by Amy S. Rosenberg
November 2007, Philadelphia, PA – Locks Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Jane Irish. Paintings for Winning Hearts and Minds will be on view December 7, 2007 through January 12, 2008. The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalog with an essay written by Carter Ratcliff. There will be a reception for the artist on Friday, December 7, 2007, from 5:30 to 7:30pm.
Jane Irish, a self-described "history painter" comments on the politics of war by creating juxtapositions between painterly vignettes and first person reflections. Her lush, Rococo interiors are intensely bright and seemingly sun-filled spaces. These ornate subjects are overlaid with white-lettered text describing the Vietnam veterans' experience creating stark visual contradictions. Carter Ratcliff writing in the catalog essay, "Pleasure and Protest: The Art of Jane Irish, " describes "an artist with a tragic outlook, who sees our happiest, most pleasurable impulses intertwined with our most destructive ones."
Having organized a major protest exhibit in 2005, where artists commemorated the heroics of antiwar veterans drawing attention to the Iraq War, Irish subsequently researched a unique Philadelphia-based archive of imaginative work made by veterans and others, of plays, films, literature, posters and music, creating accounts of the Vietnam War. Such references as "Save Waller Street/Yellow Street" (a Vet center known for grass roots activism) and the poems of Vietnam veteran, David Connolly are the underlying narratives of her recent work.
Irish, a Philadelphia-based painter received her MFA from Queens College, CUNY and has exhibited in New York and Philadelphia since 1983. Irish created a large-scale installation for the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts–her first, museum solo exhibit titled History Lesson in 2002-03. This ambitious project was favorably reviewed in Art in America and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Irish previously exhibited at Locks in two group exhibits, Fete (2006) and Treasure Island (2000).