Jun 28 2016
Jul 23 2016
Janet Black and BiJian Fan: "Wild About Paper"

Janet Black and BiJian Fan: "Wild About Paper"

Presented by Buenaventura Art Association at Buenaventura Gallery

BiJian “BJ” Fan and Janet Black, two local artists renowned for the depth of their work in a very thin medium, will present a June 28-July 23 joint exhibition at the Buenaventura Gallery in downtown Ventura titled Wild About Paper.

“We’re both very enthusiastic about this pairing of expressions of paper art,” said Black, who “paints” pictures using only torn papers of all sorts, hues, patterns and sources, creating colorful figurative collages, often of animals.

In Fan’s hands, cut, creased and folded papers come to life as flowing, sculptural depictions of a menagerie of creatures, real and imaginary. He is “thrilled to collaborate with her and integrate different styles into their artistic expression,” Fan said.

They inspired each other, he said, and sparked off a visual dialogue through paper. Black said they will be collaborating on at least two pieces, maybe more, for the show.

Fan, a Camarillo resident, and Black, of Ventura, will be at the gallery for a reception 5-8 p.m. July 1, during First Fridays Ventura, the city’s monthly arts celebration. Each is donating original art for a raffle at show’s end as a fundraiser for the Buenaventura Art Association, of which both are members. Tickets will be available at the gallery during the exhibition.

“Wild About Paper is a statement of both my paper addiction and that both BJ and I are incorporating wild creatures (and some domestic ones) in our artwork,” Black said.

Fan was born in Beijing, China, where he learned paper art from his grandmother, making origami, kite, lantern and many paper crafts in his childhood. He still creates cutting-edge paper sculpture to carry on the tradition, but his media have expanded to metal, polymer and other materials.

He studied in China, Japan and the U.S., earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics and a doctorate in mechanical engineering. After a scientific career in pharmaceutical research and development, Fan moved on to visual art and education. He is on the faculty of the Cal State Channel Islands Extended University, where he teaches art-science integration.

Black, who received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, developed and maintained a freelance graphic design business while she and husband Jim raised their family, then “celebrated my empty nest by returning to a first love,” she said.

“In 2000, I returned to fine art by taking classes at Ventura College and was drawn especially to painting portraits. After taking a workshop in collage, I experimented with creating those portraits in torn paper, and was hooked,” Black said.

“Most of my work has the figures of women and/or animals, with a special love of cats of all kinds, big and small,” she said. “I am also deeply drawn to mythic symbols and spiritual teachings and often incorporate text into my collage works that reflect that interest. I like to include surprises in the layers of paper that are unexpected, and might add a level of meaning that might otherwise be missed.”

Fan has a similar orientation, and said animals have always been an important part of his storytelling. Many of his visual narratives are made through animal symbolism and metaphor, he said.

Those artistic explorations have garnered each of them numerous awards and commissions for their works, which are sought by collectors. Examples of both artists’ pieces can be viewed online, at www.bijian.com and janetblackart.com.

The enduring art they create from a flimsy, ephemeral material will be on display at the Buenaventura Gallery, 700 E. Santa Clara St., which is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more about the nonprofit Buenaventura Art Association and its programs, visit www.buenaventuragallery.org or call 648-1235 during gallery hours.

Admission Info


Dates & Times

2016/06/28 - 2016/07/23

Location Info

Buenaventura Gallery

432 N. Ventura Ave., Ventura, CA 93001