Jane Skeer: The Emerging Artist Making Waste Beautiful

At 51, Jane Skeer is starting her career as an artist late in life but she is certainly making up for lost time.

After graduating from Adelaide Central School of Art with Honours in 2015 she was awarded the Hill Smith Gallery/Helpmann Academy Friends Award and People’s Choice Award at the Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition early this year. Skeer’s work will also feature in the esteemed Hatched: National Graduate Show at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art in May as well as in a number of other exhibitions throughout the year. Plus, she has just moved into a brand new studio space in Unley called The Boiler Room, which will o fficially launch later this year. While Skeer set out to study painting, as soon as she started sculpting in her first year of art school she knew she had found her calling. “From day one I couldn’t sleep at night,” Skeer says. “I couldn’t turn o ff. All of a sudden it was like a light came on.”

Jane-skeer-emerging-artist-making-waste-beautiful-helpmann-academy-adelaide-review-2016-hill-smith-gallery0Jane Skeer, Quiet Square (2015)

It was her work Quiet Square (2015) made out of donated and found VHS tape ribbon that captivated audiences at this year’s Helpmann Graduate exhibition. “My work is about making people smile and to watch people playfully react in the video tape was the biggest night of my life,” she says. There is something about the material that Skeer loves and she wanted to share this with the audience in a playful way. “People stopped and rested inside the video tape, they stood there with it, they pulled it over their shoulders and started playing with it.” Through her sculptures, Skeer hopes the audience can see what she sees. While her work often incorporates materials that could be classi fied as waste she is not making a statement about how much we waste, but rather she is making something that has been discarded or overlooked beautiful. “I hate waste but I’m not highlighting waste in my work I am actually aestheticising it.”

Jane-skeer-emerging-artist-making-waste-beautiful-helpmann-academy-adelaide-review-2016-hill-smith-gallery0Jane Skeer, The Messenger (2015)

In her work The Messenger (2015), Skeer collected over 6000 Messenger newspapers, which we often see discarded on driveways and footpaths unopened. One day she caught a moment when the sunlight hit the plastic and she saw the beauty in it. “I’m showing the beautiful e ffect that I saw of the light shining on the plastic but for you to see what I see I might have to repeat it thousands of times.” Through the materials she uses and the way she presents them, Skeer creates sculptures that engage with all the senses. “I’m letting materials do what materials do and hopefully I do it in a playful manner that people enjoy,” she says. “My practice is about making people happy; it’s probably about me making myself happy at the same time.” Jane Skeer will exhibit work at the Floating Goose Studios opening on Friday, June 3, and in September she will exhibit at Kings ARI in Melbourne. janeskeer.squarespace.com Photos: James Field

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