Jan Owen – Silence of the Night


15 x 3 closed, 14.5 x 43 x 2.5 open, © 2011, edition of one


Hand lettered on several layers of Hollytex; hanging scroll. Text by Thoreau, Neruda, Rilke.
Jan Owen: I used several layers of white and black painted Hollytex to create a sense of layers of silence that Thoreau describes.

Abecedarian: “Jan’s calligraphic skill is remarkable, she has decades of hand-lettering experience. She is skillful at combining traditions in her field (the architectural blocks of early manuscripts for example), with aspects from other fields (as a musician herself, she understands rhythm as an integral part of calligraphic mark making), a love of poetry and literature (both traditions also rich with history and rhythm), and an ability to embrace traditional technique (18th century methods of creating patterns on paper) with materials of our era (she uses both Tyvek and Hollytek extensively). She has taken the notion of layering to create layers of silence even further in  Silence of the Night, a multi-layered wall hanging of translucent pages.

What I find most engaging about the works on view at Abecedarian is her use of well chosen texts alongside compositional and letter forming skill in a presentation that invites a viewer into an intimate viewing experience.  Many of her presentations are elegantly practical, such as her vertical accordion books that fold up nicely as books, that unfolded are installed as wall hangings.”

Materials: sumi ink and gold acrylic, Hollytex paper

Jan Owen, an artist from Belfast, Maine combines her love of color and line, music and poetry, medieval manuscripts and Asian calligraphy in her work.

Her work incorporates hand lettering, brush marks, paste decorated papers, and words by various authors into hanging books or panels. Her work is shown internationally and is in the collections of the Library of Congress, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and university special collections.

About Alicia Bailey


Jan Owen – Silence of the Night

by Alicia Bailey time to read: 1 min