My work expresses my belief that we only see glimpses of what is going on around us and rarely have a full understanding of any situation or feeling. For me, this fragmented view is best expressed through layers and sections. The vertical format allows me to suggest these multiple and simultaneous perspectives in different areas of one piece.
I like the tension between the tight control and hard edges of cut paper against the loose and open flow of the ink. This contrast satisfies my personal need for quiet containment, while allowing for surprise, risk, and freedom.
I first traveled to Japan as a college student to study ceramics and in 1982 had a solo exhibition of my ceramic work and ink paintings in Tokyo. Since then I’ve returned to Japan multiple times to study calligraphy and learn the traditional "urauchi" scroll mounting techniques that I use in my work.
I’m not sure what I personally would have done without The Clay Studio. I had lots of ideas after coming back from Japan, but didn't know how and where I’d do it. For many young artists, encouragement and informal critiques are hard to come by once you leave art college. But the support I got at The Clay Studio allowed me to explore the techniques I learned during my Japan trip and produce work that led to the solo exhibition in Japan.
Janice Merendino is a teaching artist, former college professor and one of five founders of The Clay Studio. She also founded the Branch Out Project, where she teaches executives and other non-artists how to use drawing to stimulate creative thinking and innovative approaches in the workplace.
Janice also studies calligraphy privately and has given calligraphy workshops at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Shofuso, the Japanese House in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. In 2018, she was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from Moore College of Art and the Harrison prize from the Woodmere Art Museum.
Presently, Janice designs and teaches workshops for Accessible Programs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for people with learning and physical disabilities, including a self-portrait workshop for people with Parkinson's disease and Veterans struggling with PTSD.
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