Memory Mine – Stephen Jansen

Artists Statement…..Memory Mine

Essentially this body of work evolved around the need to make a series of personal political statements. In reality there are three such personal observations/protests. Firstly, the desire of State Government Authorities to remove ‘white’ new born children from single mothers in the fifties of which I have intimate knowledge. Secondly, the willingness of Federal and State Governments to promote the construction of memorials which honour people’s sacrifice in war and which helps promote armed conflict. Lastly, to expose the self- indulgent nature of our ‘Capitalist Materialist Society’ and the effects it is having on the destruction of our planet.

All works had a number of inspirations and the resultant visual symbols and mood of the pieces hopefully testify to this.

Some of these include, for instance, in the case of the Self-Portrait references to the importance females make to a males life, their beauty, charm, intellect, wit, and their loving, caring nature come easily to mind. In essence they are part of the male psyche and are instrumental in his survival.

The titled Pencil Portraits include names, the layout of text seeming like musical notation, therefore allowing a simple chant to be performed by reading the names aloud, much like a chant at a protest rally. Incidentally, when overseas I became aware of students protesting against the government in Egypt, these same students took to writing their names on their arms to assist identification after being continually fired at with live ammunition.

Honour roles on war memorials include text but no visual imagery as do the vast majority of graves in cemeteries. Many family albums handed down from a deceased parent include often very faded imagery and no written reference making feelings of empathy and of a supposed relationship impossible.

Lastly to the related series of paintings, from the depiction of the successful entrepreneur/industrialist leaning on a car surveying his empire in ‘Us’ to ‘The Memory Mine’ where he/we are confronted with the new reality as past memories fade. These works are not meant to be depressing but to be lyrical and poetic in nature, their feelings and relationship help us by lifting up our spirits by increasing our awareness and allowing change to be a possibility.

Artist Vitae

Visual Arts Diploma at Monash University

Diploma of Teaching at State College of Victoria (Phillip Institute of Technology)

Taught as a senior secondary Visual Communication and Design/Studio Art/Art teacher at

Wonthagggi Secondary College.

Resigned from teaching in 2011 to concentrate full time on art making.

Exhibitions

1976  Latrobe Valley Arts Purchase Award

1978  Latrobe University Union Arts Festival

2010  Night and Day – Figures In The Shed – Wonthaggi (Group Show)

2011  A Model Life ¬- Meeniyan Art Gallery (Solo Show)

2012  Of The Flesh – Blue Pig Gallery Wonthaggi (Group Show)

2013  Some Kind Of Path – Carbon Black Gallery Prahran (Solo Show)

2014  Benalla Nude Art Prize (Entry)

2015  Nude Not Rude – Wonthaggi (Group Show)

2016  Are You Warm Enough? – Meeniyan Art Gallery (Group Show)

2016  Unadorned – Wonthaggi (Group Show)

2 photos above – photography by Ken Pitts