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Born in 1971, Jane Henzell graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology after completing aDiploma of Interior Design (with distinction) from UNITEC in Auckland in 1990. Henzell has been a lecturer at the Design School and the Faculty of Architecture and Design at UNITEC since 1995. In 2006, she relocated to London to work as an assistant to DamienHirst, enfant terrible of the British art scene. Herdevotion to her career in teaching has been matched by herdedication to a full exhibiting schedule and painting regime.
Much of Henzell's work explores the painterly aspect of the influence of Japanese gestural calligraphy in the context of Western historical traditions of art, combining the lyrical qualities of paint with a fascination for the history of thedecorative context.
Henzell explains that, &ldquo in 19th Century New Zealand, aspiring artists undertook practical examination in art by sittingthe Department of Sciences and Art examination from South Kensington, London. A chief requirement of this examination was thedesign of wallpaper pattern based on New Zealand native flora. Atacit function of such a prescription was to educate artisans and consumers alike in the interests of British trade and Industry. It intrigues me to think of what this genteel convention of the late 19th Century, with its underlying economic imperative might looklike were it to be relocated in time.&ldquo
&ldquo The native flora and fauna imagery is derived from historical paintings of botanical studies which were made largely by New Zealand colonial women. They gathered in their leisure time drinking gin and tonic and painting flowers from the garden. Iallude to this largely unheralded tradition of flower painting withintent to acknowledge and engage the manner in which women practitioners have been historically constituted.&ldquo