She led us through a timeline of her work beginning from graduate school at RISD where she established her theme about separation. Below is a work about separation that takes you through the stages of breast to prepackaged bottle nipples.
Then her amazing forays into chocolate and soap with Lick and Lather and Gnaw where she uses her mouth and the activity of eating or chewing to carve two 600 lb cubes, one made of chocolate, the other of lard, then used the chewed out bits to create chocolate boxes and lipstick tubes, which she then displayed in a mock store front.
More body art with drawings made from eyelashes and mascara in butterfly kisses, cover girl thick lash mascara, 1996-1999
Her process is labor intensive, methodical and transcending. It was interesting to hear about how people are always trying to make it easier for her by offering suggestions for shortening her process. She explains how living through the long process is vital to her experience. That she wants to change as much as the object changes and that the experience informs her for her next work.
Janine spoke often of her daughter who is now nine years old. As someone who is so self-aware and prolific about commenting on the day-to-day experience of who she is, being a mother provides her with a ton of material. One of her fascinations is how babies put everything in their mouths without any reference to what the object is used for. This is their way of learning about the world (and often Janine's too). She wants to remember these early primal and visceral relationships - especially in light of the indirectness of experience that is happening in contemporary society.
I'd like to close with one of my favorites...
JA: What if the apparatus for peeing while standing up was a gargoyle? And what if I actually cast this apparatus as a sculpture and used it to pee off of a landmark building in New York City? Gargoyles fascinate me, not only as hellish creatures but because they signify the mythical, shadow side of our psyche. There’s no consensus on the source of their grotesque configuration. They are functional, though, designed to disguise a funneling system that reroutes rainwater away from a building. I chose to sculpt a griffin gargoyle, which is a hybrid—a mythical composite of different animals. It occurred to me that to use my invented apparatus was to make myself into a hybrid, because as a woman my anatomy doesn’t enable me to pee standing up. See more of this interview here.