Jana Bemova

Jana, a Czecho-American artist, introduces us to an art with ecletic roots, but which remains uniquely and undeniably her own. Her imagery, her vision and her style are clearly influenced by the geographically diverse stops she has made on her journey toward artistic autonomy.

Her native Prague, which draws her back again and again, is an artistic and historic paradise. Recently her frequent "journeys back to history", as Yana revers to them, are proving the strongest influence on her style. Every year she spends hours and days soaking up the period atmosphere of the old city parks, cemeteries and cathedrals, among concerts of the incomparable music of the past, drinking in the mood and the forms of Baroque frescoes and statues (which re-emerge so clearly and intergrally in the shapes on her canvases).

But while Prague has its power over the line and rhytm in her paintings, there is also the clear impact of Paris, where she learned technique, studying with devotion the works of early Renaissance painters in the Louvre – take her use of hue and tint, for example, the luminous skin tones she mastered after Botticelli.

Later, it was the energy and vitality of New York City – its startling mosaic of the unforeseen, abruptly juxtaposed with the unexpected – that sparked her already dynamic imagination. It supplies one of the answers to the often-asked question, "Yana, wherever do you go for your wild ideas?"

And finally, it is Miami, a world of color and sunshine, its atmosphere of sultry sensuality, that has provided Yana with the magic she employs to tie it all together. Focussing on the human figure, her inner feelings emerge on canvas, contemplating and commenting on her perception of woman in society today, on relationships between one human being and another, be it a manly female or a feminine male.

The animals that appear now and then in her paintings are like symbols of an inevitable destiny. Humans with the eyes of cats, dogs with the eyes of people, recall to our minds that dark, wild side that is buried inside all of us. A dog´s lollling tongue is an expression of man´s lust for woman.

Although her work is never les than serious, there is an undercurrent of humor, frequently a biting wit and her own brand of irony. Going blond her bizarre images and ideas, and her spectacular use of color, we cannot fail to register in her paintings a strong sense of composition and order. And above all, food for thought.


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