Our member of the week is Janet Goldner. Janet is an accomplished artist, combining poetry and visual art into steel sculptures. Janet takes socially significant images and texts and carves them into her works. Her art comes from her firsthand experiences traveling the world, most notably Africa, which she has visited regularly since 1973. Janet was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, which she used to travel to Mali to work with other artists. Janet’s work has been showcased in solo and group exhibitions throughout the world. Learn more about Janet and see her extensive resume on her website, and be sure to check out her profile on our yellow pages.
1. What has been your most interesting project? Have We Met? A Portrait of Mali my new installation with steel sculpture, video and sound. The gestural steel sculptures in the form of vessels, books, Y-sticks, zigzags, and beads were inspired by Malian philosophy and culture. A 15-minute split-screen video loop presents 4 aspects of daily life in Karenguimbe, a remote village in northern Mali. I first traveled to West Africa in 1973. Combining sculpture and video, Have We Met? engages the public in a dialogue to bridge Malian realities & Western audiences with images that are small, personal and human. **2. Why did you decide to go freelance? ** Since I'm a visual artist going freelance comes with the territory. ** ** **3. What tip would you give to a new freelancer or someone who is considering going freelance? ** It is difficult to be totally self directed, to get up in the morning and decide what needs to be done that day. It takes many years of practice. The work is never done. It is never enough. It is important to develop a routine that works with realistic goals. It is also important to have time off to play. **4. What is your favorite spot in the city in which you live? ** I have many favorite spots—coffee shops, walking along the river, going to museums, getting out of the city. **5. What is your inspiration? ** My sculptural work brings together art and poetry by cutting images and texts into steel sculptures using a welding torch as a drawing instrument. I combine the tactile, spatial forms of sculpture with elegant, succinct comments on contemporary social issues. I do studio work, and commissions as well as community and public projects. I first traveled to West Africa in 1973. Since spending eight months in Mali on a Fulbright in 1995, I have been engaged in a dialogue with Malian artists concerning our lives, work, and creative process. The combining of Western and non-Western images and ideas are a result of many trips to Africa, as well as a response to my own layered American cultural identity.