Jan O’Highway – Contact.
TROUBLED WATER, fountain. Materials: steel, plastics, metal, baler twine, nylon rope, wire, artificial fabrics, bilge pump, water.
T.R.A.I.L.Teignbridge Recycled Art In Landscape, Devon UK. July to Sept 7th 2008
Every August, T.R.A.I.L. features art made out of all sorts of reclaimed materials, by artists, children, and Community groups.
In 2008 the spectacular cliff-top site of Jason’s Garden in Teignmouth, Devon, was included in T.R.A.I.L. – the Garden was created by the Pope family as a Memorial to their geologist son, Jason, who was killed in Angola in 1998.
For this powerfully emotive site, Jan created TROUBLED WATER, a colourful and ambiguous figure arising from a paddling pool filled with floating plastic, the bizarre and toxic detritus of our throwaway society – old broken playground equipment and toys, guns, tools, ornaments.
Pumped water flowed through the sculpture – a reminder both of the playful, healing power of water, and a comment on the huge quantities of plastic waste now circulating in the oceans. As well as adding movement and sound, this water (kept clear of algae by extract of barley straw donated by Aqua Hydrotech Ltd) was a resource for wildlife during the summer.
Documentation of the making of Troubled Water is on https://www.flickr.com/photos/ohighway/albums/72157607093648144/with/2825254911/
From an initial training in painting, printmaking, and calligraphy at Guildford School of Art, I’ve explored a wide range of materials and styles in response to the various demands of Public Art and other commissions.
In 3-dimensional work I fuse ceramic and glass for mosaics and sculpture, often combining these pieces with reclaimed and found materials. I love the vibrancy of light passing through glass, and the extraordinary richness of shape and variety to be found in something so ordinary as a a broken toy or squashed can on the road …. things abandoned, unvalued, lost, changed especially toys, partly from the power of their archetypal imagery and also from concern about the huge environmental impact of plastics and oil the work becomes a metaphor perhaps for survival and re-creation.
Since acquiring in 2006 an archival-quality Giclée inkjet printer I’ve been developing scanner-photography for fine-art printwork; subject matter ranges from plant material to the surreal worlds of toys and industrial products.
I teach short courses in my Devon studio, and run occasional community projects.