It has been two years since I was last here at Jane Rosen’s ranch and studio, perched on a hill at the top of Bear Gulch Road, just a few winding miles from the salt and sand of the rugged Pacific coastline. On this hillside sits a bit of paradise, lovingly preserved and built by the artist to cultivate her unique practice. Here among the redwoods and eucalyptus, the rules governing our urban lives and entangling us in a snare of society give way to more fundamental things: sunlight, seasons, birds, stone, and earth. Here, you can’t help but be present and let the poetry of things flood over you.
It makes sense why Jane has chosen this place. Even as a young artist living in New York City, she was drawn to nature. In her SoHo loft, where Jane worked for many years, she gained international recognition for her ability to meld body, animal, and material deftly. She honed her capacity to divine form and meaning from stone, plaster, resin, and charcoal. But when Jane found her way to Northern California, she had to stay. The ravens, red-tailed hawks, foxes, deer, dogs, sunlight, shadow, moss, green-gray stone, and the umber earth were an irresistible call to this artist whose subject matter has always been nature.
Jane’s ability to expose the mystical qualities of her subjects is widely acknowledged. Her art exists in a liminal space, a familiar but undefined area between conscious and unconscious perception, the span between seeing and sensing. It is powerful art that stitches together human experience and the natural environment, connecting us to something beyond ourselves. Drawing artistic inspiration from sources as diverse as Morandi, da Vinci, ancient Chinese calligraphy, and Egyptian funerary art, Jane’s drawings and burnished stone and glass sculptures echo the landscape’s layered textures and colors. Her noble sculptures celebrate the potent relationship between animal and human realms, telling a story of tranquility, strength, and immutable beauty.
The two years between my last visit and this has seen our world tilt on its axis; pandemic, wars, and climate change have rewritten the global script. And so our perception of the world around us. Yet, the story Jane tells with her work remains steadfast: Look here at this beautiful world that surrounds us; watch the dappled light change as the sun moves across the sky; listen quietly to the birds and the foxes and the deer. These are the things that will reveal grander truths.