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Jane Le Besque
     
  Moveable Garden

From ancient Babylon to Andalusia’s Generalife (“the Gardens of the Architect”) the concept of the garden has served as a powerful symbol of the essential energy of life and the renewal of nature as well as a special space for intellectual stimulation and fleeting moments of quiet reflection. In her vibrant, visually stunning canvases, Jane Le Besque creates a garden of the imagination. Her style is both strikingly unique and refreshingly modern. The intertwining vines, blossoms and leaves that flourish across her canvases are sensuous, and fantastic, and yet comfortably familiar and surprisingly realistic. The colors reflected in blue lichens, golden roots and insistent red garlands reflect the complex palates of the ancient masters while the effect is unabashedly modern. Jane Le Besque’s recent book, “Cooking from a Mesolithic garden” explored the principles of the original plants, medicines and aromatic herbs, sweet fruits and vegetables that both sustained and delighted earliest man towards the end of the ice age some 30,000 years ago. Her current work mirrors the luxurious herbal richness that once characterized the Fertile Crescent, the cradle of human civilization, which spanned ancient Mesopotamia, extending from the Gulf to the richness of the Nile Delta.

While traditional gardens are often designed to show man’s imposition of order over the chaos of nature, Jane Le Besque’s work breaks through conventional limits to reveal the subtle complexity and inventiveness of nature permitted the freedom to express itself. A master of watercolor, oils, collages and frescos, she frequently encourages her imaginary forms to escape the boundaries of the frame and the flatness of the canvas’ painted surface. Never predictable, her work always surprises, deftly stimulates the imagination and is irreverently playful. Above all, she focuses on the exquisite elements that compose nature’s fragile beauty. She leads us to see and appreciate these subtle aspects of nature that are at risk of vanishing in the fast changing climate of an overcrowded world under increasing stress.

Her latest work is conceived as an intriguing and emotionally stimulating passage between two rows of large, illuminated panels, each of which could theoretically be up to 0ne meter fifty wide and as much as three meters high. As envisioned, the installation constitutes a moveable feast for the imagination that can readily transform itself to complement a wide variety of settings and backgrounds. Modular, in construction, the work can easily be presented as a flowering promenade or as clusters of independent octagonal desert kiosks that recall the gardens of Istanbul’s legendary Topkapi palace or Andalusia’s Al Hambra, once compared to a pearl set in emeralds. As comfortable set against the stark grandeur of the deserts of the Gulf as it is in the lush, rolling hills of the Mediterranean, Jane Le Besque’s imagination creates a unity that bridges multiple visions of nature and mirrors the vibrant yet fragile and intimate complexity of a planet that defines our lives and which we are now obligated to protect for future generations. With parents who trace their origins to both England and France’s Brittany, Jane Le Besque was educated at leading art schools in England as well as the celebrated Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris.

Major multinational corporations, including Hewlett Packard and Groupe Valmont have commissioned specific pieces, and her imaginative sculptures have been translated into glass at the famous Berengo Studios on the island of Murano and ceramic plates at the Fondation Tallers Josep Llorens Artigas, Spain. Jane Le Besque lives and paints at her studio in a small French village in the Jura Mountains, not far from Geneva.

William Dowell

 

 
     
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