Jan Dickey sees paint as a living substance, likening its elements to organisms within a complex ecosystem. By working with earth-based binders like milk paint, egg tempera, walnut oil, rabbit skin glue and casein, the artist allows organic and complex systems of relationships to form within his works. The texturally intricate surfaces born out of Dickey’s intuitive actions while painting are meant to remain open to gradual change, even after they leave the artist’s studio.
Currently, the five-pointed star is the primary subject of the artist’s work. Used in repetition, and appearing in different sizes and shifting angles, the star is used as a bounded geometric form, one that both contains and excludes compositional space. Mirroring the world around us, the artist’s use of the five-pointed star imposes boundaries to make sense of the painting, just as the boundaries we create around ourselves and around others are what allow us to coherently understand ourselves and our world. As in life, however, the boundaries within the artist’s work can be evanescent, potentially breaking open into boundlessness and inseparability.
Jan graduated with a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Delaware in Newark, DE in 2009. He later graduated with an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Hawai’i at Mãnoa in Honolulu, HI in 2017, where he was the recipient of a number of awards including the Graduate Achievement Scholarship, the Geraldine P. Clark Memorial Fellowship and the John Heide Fellowship. He has been selected for numerous artist residencies, most recently at ARTnSHELTER in Tokyo, Japan in 2019, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Art Center in Nebraska City, NE in 2018, and the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT in 2017. In 2023, Dickey will be an Artist Resident at The Sam and Adele Golden FoundationSM for the Arts, Inc..