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Material and Texture: The Art of Jan Swinburne

A digital artwork made in response to an audio fileTime 09

Jan Swinburne is a Canadian artist who produces work in both traditional and digital media, often taking an experimental approach to her process. The artist’s practice tends toward abstraction, and appreciation for material and texture

A digital artwork with a topographical, mountainous appearanceblack sky 06


I really enjoy the works in Jan’s recent series WAVEFORM LANDSCAPES. In these works, the artist transforms short audio tracks into mountainous landscapes, using various digital techniques. The resulting images are something like the chromatic mountain paintings of David Wightman, digital rendered and alien landscapes that seem to hint at the auditory origins of their forms. 

A screen capture of Jan Swinburne's art


Jan’s paintings also sometimes take on a topographical aesthetic -- the works in the series LUX CODA are heavy applications of acrylic paint and medium, piled onto a canvas in undulating waveforms. The real star of the show here, though, is light, and the many ways in which it can totally change the appearance of a textured surface.

A heavily textured painting photographed with a flashGently Caution The Artist, acrylic paint and medium on board (photographed with flash)

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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