Janet Pierce’s paintings are concerned with her search for transcendence. Her work draws on Celtic and Indian spirituality, stemming from her affinity with the landscape and a sense of place in Scotland, Ireland, India and Malaysia.
Born in Scotland, she has made Ireland her adoptive home but her travels have taken her to many exotic places around the world. However, she counts the west of Ireland foremost amongst those which have affected her most deeply and the resonance of the Mayo and Donegal landscape and light has been a significant inspiration.
‘I love the moodiness of the west of Ireland, and there is a softness to the Irish landscape that you don't really find in Scotland, which tends to be grander and harsher. I think it's a feminine quality.'
When she's painting she instinctively finds herself focusing on skies, shores, mountains, and has often wondered why this is so.
' I think part of the reason is that I used to go climbing with my father when I was a child, but really I think it's because it's something permanent amidst change and displacement. It's something that most people need in their lives, a sense of constancy. And now that religious belief has declined, a lot of people turn to nature to provide that extra dimension to existence, to fill the soul.'
That is what her work is about; the shaft of light that breaks through masses of cloud, the landscape as a metaphor for life's struggles, its setbacks and joys.
'I try to get those extraordinary moments. Grey beach, grey sky, four on a winter's afternoon. Then the evening sun comes through and suddenly everything is liquid gold.'
As she says, with a mischievous grin, 'I am an unashamed romantic.'
Pierce was Regional Arts Officer to Fermanagh District Council from 1982-86 and in the following years she was a guest artist at the Museum of Modern Art, Edinburgh, guest lecturer at Edinburgh University, Arts Officer to the Scottish Arts Council and part-time lecturer in Fine Art, Painting, at NCAD Dublin and at DLCADT, Dun Laoighaire, before being appointed Education Officer at the Douglas Hyde Gallery.
Janet Pierce gave up lecturing in 1995 to devote her time to painting and in the year 2000 she was honoured with election to membership of Aosdána, among the current 208 creative artists across all the arts disciplines whose work is deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland. Her partner is the distinguished painter, Felim Egan. Janet Pierce's website.