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Jane Powers is a mixed media sculptor and participatory public artist. Jane’s early interest in sociology/psychology, connections within the medical field, and volunteer work with community groups fuels her practice that explores social-political issues. Jane is interested in opening a dialogue about these issues and asking questions about our “choices”.
Three main threads continue through Jane’s work. One examines issues concerning women and the culturing of our bodies. As the body is a site through which experiences are digested and memories held, it critically informs our identity and emotional states. What cultural norms define our depiction and stories, and how are our bodies to be engaged with?
The ongoing stories of violence—whether between individuals or countries—have caused me to reflect on issues surrounding our human propensity for it. How are economic, cultural, and psychological pressures, and our gun/military culture sustaining this? War, whether gang or international, too often provides an arena for dispersing cultural conflicts and personal anger and trauma.
Jane’s third focus, biomedical developments, is the focus for the show, Future Seeps Into Now (NE Gallery Factory October-November 2022). Jane is creating work that considers the future of biomedical innovations in genetic engineering, tissue culturing, and xenotransplantation. What technologies do we want to invest in and how will we choose to use them for healing and for redesigning/reinventing our human biology? Additionally, will raising animals injected with human stem cells for use for replacement human body tissue and organs present ethical issues that differ from farming animals for food and hides?
Questions arising with Jane slowly transform into images, leading to making and juxtaposing objects to form layered and open-ended narratives.
Jane was born in Washington, D.C., grew up in Maryland, and completed a BA degree in sociology/psychology at the University of Maryland. After working in DC, Jane spent fourteen months studying, working, and traveling in Europe. This profoundly opened up her worldview. When Jane returned from Europe she began working as a computer programmer in D.C. Being able to readily access museums/galleries and art films rekindled Jane’s drive/ desire to make art. Acquiring a 35mm camera, Jane began documenting her trips to Europe, India, and Nepal.
Jane moved to Minneapolis in 1986, entering the BFA program at Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) completing her degree in 1992. Working as an artist Jane felt the need to learn more and enrolled in MCAD’s MFA program in sculpture, earning an MFA in 1998.
Minneapolis/St. Paul’s artist communities, museums/galleries, and performance spaces fueled Jane’s creative energy and through classes at the University of Minnesota, Jane learned new processes--metal casting, ceramics, and art-focused microcomputing. Jane has received several Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grants, an MRAC Next Step Grant, and a Forecast Public Art R&D Grant. Her work has been shown locally and nationally.
In addition to her artistic practice, Jane is also a member of several community and social-political activist groups. Jane loves the winter, the snow, and dog sledding in northern Minnesota.
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