There is a statement Janet made some time ago that the art of Watercolours is like unaccompanied singing. You cannot hide anything, and so she stepped into the world of sean-nos and collaborated with Maighread and Triona Ni Dhomnaill. And she also spoke of listening to singing out in the Hebrides and being totally overcome. I myself went to a Gallic Service in church in Lewis Island and one of the elders on the altar suddenly stood and sang the first lines of a psalm and the congregation answered with six lines in return, it was like going out to sea, and I thought I was back listening to Sean O Se. The incredible singing went on for 20 minutes then there was a break for the sermon, and next thing I heard a sound I had only heard back at the matinees in the cinema - the opening of sweet paper, mints were popped into mouths and sucked, the sermon ended and the singing in Gallic began again, the boat left the harbour, and now I feel that Janet was somewhere seated at the back. As she looks out into the landscape she is both listening and watching, and then transcending.

I met Janet some 30 years ago in Annaghmakerrig at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre where she now has a studio. The spiritual was always accompanying her. Since then she's traipsed across the rugged part of Donegal and the lights and skies of Mayo to the sound of ancient song and then onto India where Indian music began accompanying her brush strokes. Everywhere in her work different dimensions are on the move between the straight lines and beautiful resounding squares.. There are traces of gold and silver everywhere. Shafts of light are breaking through the dark. Guru 3 is like a painting of another distant painting, with a blue box at the bottom marking the dark physicality below the cosmos, a place in which she could stack her brushes and colours as her senses climb into the frame. In Guru 5 there is the swish of an old Victorian dress in the dark; and in Guru 6 there is the glint of gold before a distant opening. In the world of meditation she had found another sound and that is - the word OM, from the ancient Sanskrit, which is the sound of the universe.

The paintings and tapestries on these walls echo that creation, that moment. Rothko is whispering into her ear as she climbs the Himalayas. Nature fills her soul with a rush of colour as she stands at the source of the holy river Ganges, high up in the mountains. We are looking at a series of images that have travelled through her consciousness when her eyes were closed, and then travelled onto the paper and onto the tapestries when she opened her eyes and looked out onto the landscape. What looks abstract is a second in time trapped in threads and watercolour and mixed media that then begins a journey across the paper to join the others heading out of sight. The dark is moving round the unashamed colours, the squares are trapping light that then filters, and flicks. Everything is on the go. In the Mayas night is falling, the day is starting, a room is lit. In Maya 1 the shape of light sits, both windblown and fixed in a distant bright blue, flexed with bark. The mist of growth and green in Maya 11 is rising from the shadows round a discarded silver towards another dark. In Guru V the transience and the transcendent meet in yellow and red. Guru 6 is like a quiet cinema of the senses. Guru 4 is a bright door opening into consciousness. And in Guru 7 the wardrobes of colour stand alongside each other looking out at the observer from a still interior, all at ease in the questioning. In Maya 11 one square is like a picture of an ancient shining, fading parchment, while the other alongside it is the fearful blur, the unending, the two look out at us from the one frame posing a question, and answering it as you take in the extraordinary balance. And then we enter the world of song again in the 4 Arias, aria being the Italian for air; here is the sound of one voice singing a poetic pattern, and the voice is quiet, close, warm; the music is away in the background; you glide along through the air, and the melodies, in a silence filled with the whisper of quiet colours. The touch is light. The vision calm.

Janet has won many awards, among them the 2008 Culture Ireland Award, the 2006 Culture Ireland Award, 2002 Sanskritti Foundation, New Delhi, India, in 2000 Fundacion Valpairiso, Mojacar, Spain, in 1996 Irish Arts Council - major visual arts bursary and in1994 U.S.A. - Ireland Exchange, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, U.S.A. The list goes on back through the years. She came to Ireland in the 70'd, stayed. Lived in Enniskillen for a time, then Dublin, and has travelled far and wide, taking in Malaysia, Spain, America, the highlands of her home land of Scotland – to quote Janet Glasgow is the Capital of Donegal, and she went finally to India where these tapestries were made in a centre for Creative Weaving. The same hushed tone and shapes that inhabits the paintings has entered the tapestries – the same squares and pillars have been woven. In the weaving there is a feeling of warmth, closeness and distance. Other dimensions enter the scene. I hear the OM. And there is also a sense of community, of collaboration, and the slow weaving of the threads of the familiar to the threads of the unknown . In her words These designs came about as a result of this fusion of my minimal European cultural sensibilities and my response to living with this Hindu joint family in this particular South Indian tropical environment. It is a paradise, ripe, fecund and abundant; yet the life there has many hidden rules and structures that it takes time to see and understand. Thus the term, Hidden Paradise. As she says herself the tapestries are as much Indian as Irish. The new perspective is everywhere on these walls. It's an honor to open this exhibition and step round the fusion of the various illuminated landscapes of the planet. It is like going round in time, being led by someone you can't see, through a series of visual adventures that this great artist has always taken.

Dermot Healy, September 2010

Click this link to contact Janet Pierce

Fusion 8
Fusion 4
Fusion 1
Fusion 2
Fusion 10

Fusion 3

Fusion 6

Fusion 7

Fusion 5

Fusion 12

Fusion 9

Fusion 11