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Non-Narrative Visual Expression: Art by Jan Swinburne

A photo of an abstract light patternComplexRefraction

Jan Swinburne is a multimedia artist who is interested in the intersection of art and science. Her works explore non-narrative visual expression, frequently through the media of glitch art and abstract photography.

An abstract photograph of light refracting into a rainbowMAGICbow


I love Jan’s recent series of abstract photographs, which comprises numerous moments of light reflecting on smooth and textured surfaces, like walls. The lack of background context combined with the ethereal, undulating light forms lends an almost supernatural sense to these works, calling to mind spectres, or perhaps strange and undiscovered sea life.


The front page of Jan Swinburne's art portfolio websiteJan's portfolio website,


Swinburne’s glitch photographs are mysterious in a similar sense, while straying from mystical interpretations into something more tethered to technology. In these, colors reminiscent of tests patterns create abstractions in which the mind tries and fails to find concrete pattern. I enjoy this disorientation along with the artist’s occasional explanations - one work is based on a waveform of Jan’s voice, for example. 

A digitally manipulated waveform glitchBEGINNING - the end of the world as we know it

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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