Exerpt from IceBreakers

Author: Julie Decker, published by International Gallery of Contemporary Art, 2001.

Icebreakers takes a look at the last 25 years of contemporary visual art production in Alaska. Isolated geographically from the rest of the country, Alaska offers artists a challenging environment in which to make art. In this setting, a small but significant group of artists has claimed Alaska as its home and worked to push the boundaries and definition of contemporary art. Icebreakers celebrates these artists: those who came, those who left, and those who continue to live and work in the state today. All reflect the creativity, innovation, brilliance, and range of the artists who have helped define Alaskan contemporary art during this critical period.

Jane Terzis is an artist who is commonly known for her works in oil, egg tempera, and graphite. She creates invented portraits of different fictional personalities like Mother Courage, Little Brat, or Bogeyman. These imaginary portraits show a definite personality, and tell a story to the viewer. Her “9 Year Old Kid” shows some of this.”In somebody’s face, there’s a practiced expression that masks something fundamental, that isn’t masked in the back.” In this painting, she captures closely the slight slump of the shoulders, the tilt of the neck, size of the ears, and the flop of brown hair we can all recognize as belonging to a child of 9 years. Since she was a child, Terzis has seen herself as an artist. “I used to watch my grandmother paint, and for me, the idea of making a picture was magical.”She earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from Ohio Wesleyan University. Then she studied for three years to earn her  M.A. in Medical and Biological Illustration. As part of the program, Terzis studied Physiology and Pathology, and took human anatomy classes with students of medicine. “The coolest part for me was to see textures and colors inside the human body and to learn to reproduce the way that looks and how the body works,” said Terzis. She explains that medical illustrators use techniques that others illustrators don’t. She had to be precise and accurate. “I was into surrealism at the time and on an impulse I thought that medical illustration might be the most surreal kind of painting one could get involved with.” “Art has the potential to communicate the fundamental, eliminating the extraneous.”

Jane lived in Juneau, Alaska from 1979 to 2011 when she retired as an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Alaska. She now lives and works in Portland, Oregon

© copyright 2009-2020 all rights reserved.