Art reflects life

By Ruth E. Kott, AM’07

Artwork courtesy Jeanette Pasin Sloan

New Mexico–based artist Jeanette Pasin Sloan, MFA’69, began her career painting simple household objects. A stay-at-home mother in a “tumultuous marriage” that later ended in divorce, she was low on time, but she spent two years copying every object in her kitchen. “At the time,” she says, “I kept thinking, this is not very important subject matter, and I just kept trying to find important subject matter, but the paintings of these domestic objects were actually more interesting and beautiful than the other things I was trying to do.”

After painting a chrome toaster and seeing a reflection of her kitchen on its surface, she shifted her focus. Pasin Sloan realized that the reflections in the mirrored surface captured more than simply other appliances: “They became sort of a meditation for me about my own situation.”

In a show through June 20 at Milwaukee’s Peltz Gallery, directed by Cissie Peltz, AB’46, Pasin Sloan exhibits a selection of her mostly watercolor and gouache paintings and original prints, including some new work—what she calls “the kitchen utensil series.” So sharp they could be confused for photographs, the pieces, including “Pan with Spoons” (2008), blur the line between realism and abstraction, between still life and motion. “Still lifes have always been a realm of peace and order.” Life, she says, is never so clear.

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