Jane Downes is interested in the feelings evoked by shape, form and pattern, how we react to scale and light and the influence this has on Art, Architecture and Design. She uses forms in her work that resonate with her, both natural and manmade. Often common or from childhood, sometimes delicate and fleeting objects from nature, sometimes robust geometric forms from popular culture and industry. Specific themes include colonisation, security and shelter, along with more abstract themes commenting on the human condition – challenging preconceptions of purpose and beauty, valuable and lowly, masculine and feminine, permanence and the ephemeral. These dichotomies are reflected in her use of recycled, found and industrial materials.
Downes has a Bachelor of Design, and a Certificate in Art, Craft and Design. She has also worked in draughting, cartography, architecture and spatial design. Her sculptural works have appeared in numerous New Zealand exhibitions, including Canterbury’s Art in a Garden, Sculpture on the Peninsula, Ellerslie Flower Show and Sculpture in Central Otago as well as Sculpture on the Gulf and the Dowse Art Museum’s Shapeshifter. She has also been a finalist in the National Small Sculpture Prize, regularly exhibits at the Little River Gallery and undertakes work on commission.
Downes lives in Little River on Banks Peninsula where she works from a home workshop with the assistance of her engineer husband Mario.
This Downes’ second time exhibiting in Sculpture in the Gardens.