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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 has worked as an External PhD Supervisor with several Universities and is currently an External Examiner and Academic Advisor 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 mainly in Edinburgh - and in the South West of Cornwall.
My work engages with our man made environment as it historically defines us through the construction of institutional and domestic spaces where society intends we ‘fit in’ - more recently considering the history and current use of specific landscapes.
Earlier works were lens-based installations, direct interventions on the external surface and within buildings, challenging the fabric of a gendered architecture that from the first structure defined our place in the world. Using photography, film and video projection these temporary works also collude with the urban experience, suggesting the overexposure of advertising and surveillance in the contemporary city.
Later projects consider these spaces constitutionally, focussing on the Gallery, Museum and Stately Home, examining portrait collections as locations where the ‘great and the good’ of Western society are recognised - 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 suggest the historic painted portrait - but celebrate the contemporary subject.
More recently I have investigated very specific local industrial and pastoral land and seascapes to the North and South of the UK. These now appear to be natural environments but have always been - and remain - economically exploited and culturally ‘managed’. Again developed over several years these works suggest the continual process of man made disruption and erosion through animated images and text - and currently consider the significance of borders and the edges of the land.
These works include artist led projects and public commissions.