In each of her 14 paintings on display at the Leu Art Gallery, local artist Jane Braddock uses color and design to make three simple words stand out.
Those words – liberated while living – are not only the title of her series at the Leu Art Gallery, but also symbolize a way of life for her.
“Liberated while living is being slightly above everything but still being part of that river of joy,” said Braddock.
Braddock was inspired by her friend’s tattoo of the Sanskrit word Jivamukti, which means liberated while living.
The pieces that including the phrase were ones that took awhile for Braddock to prepare for and finish. It took her a couple of years to complete the collection as she worked through other projects.
“This particular work is very unusual for me…I’ve never taken one phrase and done that over and over again,” said Braddock.
Braddock has several other pieces that include text, but this series is very different, she said. All the paintings in the series are the same size and say the same three words. This limits what Braddock can change about each painting.
“Color plays a huge part in the emotional tenor. A lot of the message is the color and the color relationships,” said Braddock.
Color is important in each of Braddock’s paintings, but especially so in this series of work. She chooses a base color based of off her feelings before starting, but sometimes that color is barely included by the time the work is finished.
All of the text is drawn out before she begins painting using a font called Phantom. Braddock chose this font specifically because of its plain and impersonal characteristics. Braddock would rather have the actual words and color to be the focus of her paintings, not the font style.
Text has been influencing Braddock’s paintings since she became an artist, even before she started including it in the actual paintings.
“I knew I would be in art but I’ve always loved to read,” said Braddock.
Braddock uses the text as another form of pattern and as a message. She marks passages while she is reading and uses lines from her favorite literature and poetry. While she wants the text to send a message, she avoids using anything too literal. She would rather have the painting itself to be part of the message too and for the viewer to be able to reflect on the meaning later.
“There [are] certain writers and poets that work better for this,” she said.
In addition to literature, Braddock’s pieces are also influenced by the cultures she’s been around. Her travels have heavily influenced all of her art, particularly her experiences in Asia. She’s spent time in Nepal, Tibet, Buton, China, Japan, Indonesia and India.
“I’m particularly taken with India, the colors of it, the richness of pattern – I love everything about India,” Braddock said.
She hopes to return to India soon and come back with ideas for new projects.
“Every time I do a new painting I try to do something new I didn’t do in the last one.”
Liberated While Living will continue to be on display in the Leu Art Gallery until Dec. 13.