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Jane Brettle was born in Bristol and studied Fine Art at the University of the West of England and Fine Art and Photography at the University of Sunderland. She gained an MA in Photographic Studies from the University of Derby.
She has been the recipient of numerous Awards, Bursaries and Commissions, which include the National Galleries of Scotland, the Royal College of Surgeons, London, Glasgow Year of Architecture and Design, Photo 98 and the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art. Her work has been exhibited and published nationally and internationally and is in various public and private collections including the Deutsche Bank Art Collection, the Scottish Arts Council, the City Art Centre, Edinburgh, the National Galleries of Scotland, the Ferens Gallery Hull, and The Royal College of Surgeons, London.
As a practicing artist she has worked both in Scotland and England. She was formally an Associate Lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art and Associate Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University where she was involved in developing the Contemporary Photographic Practice Course, teaching both theory and practice at undergraduate and postgraduate level. She is currently an External Examiner and External PhD Supervisor and occasionally writes on Photography.
In 1984 She set up the first Gallery Education Project in Scotland at Stills Gallery, Edinburgh and in 1987 Co-established Portfolio Gallery, Workshop and Magazine in Edinburgh.
She has been a member and board member of several arts organisations and awards and consultancy panels and invited to chair, speak and lecture at numerous academic and art/photography gallery events.
Jane Brettle lives and works in Edinburgh and in the South West of Cornwall.
In my work I respond to the way in which our man made environment historically defines us - through the construction of institutional and domestic spaces where society intends we 'fit in' - and more recently through the spaces that appear to be 'natural environments' but which are culturally 'managed' for our education and pleasure.
Earlier works were often large-scale, lens-based installations, direct interventions on and within the space of buildings, challenging the fabric of a gendered architecture that from the first structure defined our place in the world. Using photography, film and video these temporary works also collude with our urban experience imitating the overexposure of advertising and surveillance in the contemporary city.
Later works consider the 'institution' from within focussing on the Art Gallery, Museum and Stately Home, examining portrait collections as a space where the 'great and the good' of Western society are given individual recognition - considering who, historically had been deemed a suitable subject to be displayed in these institutions and who is missing? - Developed over several years, using large format photography and responding to colour, pose and scale the photographs 'mimic' the painted portrait while celebrating the contemporary subject.
For the past few years I have been photographing and researching the history and current use of specific landscapes in relation to these historic constructs as they effect our contemporary understanding and experience.
These works consider the 'hidden' in these landscapes and ideas of transience, memory and the fragility of human projects. These investigations also relate to a broader concept of landscape. What appear to be natural environments have always been - and remain - economically exploited and culturally 'managed' for our education and pleasure.
My projects are often interdisciplinary and collaborative, in association with artists, professionals and groups and embrace a broad audience.
These works include artist led projects and public commissions.