Don’t Go Back to Sleep is an exhibition of new paintings by Jana Brike continuing her previous work and themes, which are wide ranging but essentially distill to this: every single second of life can offer an inner epiphany.
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Opening reception: Saturday, October 9th, 6pm - 9pm
The show takes its title from a poem by the beloved mystic Rumi. Brike has a deep love and admiration of medieval Persian poetry for the way it approaches life and art: it has a wonderful simplicity in expressing the beauty of human connection, love and nature in lyrical ways, but it also attaches profound significance to every detail, exploring spiritual revelations and blissful connection (and painful loss of those) to the higher consciousness. This resonates with Brike as a goal in her work.
Brike’s paintings are about the sacredness of ordinary daily experiences: growing pains, awkwardness of being in one’s own body and being in love, the superpower of vulnerability and the abundance of beauty, emotion and sensory experiences that life can offer if we stay open and connected. An important aspect of her work is the subjective view on life and creating meanings from a woman’s perspective in extremely intimate ways. For Brike, the painting process has always been about working through suppressed emotions and wounds, shedding light on the personal shadow part and transcending it. Moving from shadow to light through emotional cleansing is a delicate, deep and personal process: sensing that dark void behind the light of the soul is a grand inspiration for how she approaches mundane life as well as art.
The lushness of nature, flowers, birds and overgrowth is in the very forefront in this body of work. Brike feels that we have forgotten that we ARE nature, not something that interacts with it as an external and objectified thing. In her paintings nature is often equal to human emotions and states: emotions are elemental energies. Violent seas and majestic clouds, warm summer sunshine and cool magical moonlight, forests to get lost in and misty swamps, and overgrowth springing up around, in and from human bodies—these are metaphors for internal territories of the soul.
Don’t Go Back to Sleep in many ways is also a cry for thoughtfulness and care in this strange time we are all going through with a worldwide pandemic: she believes that with all the unexpected hardships different societies and individuals have encountered, many of us have been woken up from a slumber of avoiding many individual (and collective) issues that may have been all too easy to sweep under the carpet in the drowsiness of safety in daily routines. We’ve been shaken out of that routine and got to know the self, others and our communities from a completely different perspective. Don’t Go Back to Sleep is a call to maintain that wakefulness.
Jana Brike was born in year 1980 in Riga, Latvia. She has studied academical painting in the Art Academy of Latvia and received M.A. degree in year 2005. Her work has been exhibited internationally in professional venues since 1996 while she was still a young teenager, and since then she has had 13 solo exhibitions and nearly 100 other projects and group exhibitions all over the world. Her main interest is visual art with a strong narrative and depiction of a figure, mostly using the traditional medium of oil painting on canvas. She has also explored other mediums like drawing, animation, mixed media sculpture, installation and digital art. The main focus of Brike's art is the internal space and state of a human soul - dreams, longing, love, pain, the vast range of emotions that human condition offers and the transcendence of them all, the growing up and self-discovery. Her work is her poetic visual auto-biography.