Classic Series

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Stayton consciously designs an idealized natural theatre, which the viewer is invited to enter. .....Architectural details suggest a greater pre-modern Italian  urban panorama of parks, steps, fountains and pathways.  Her tightly structured compositions that often include a repetition of verticals carefully encapsulate space and direct the eye to a distant view.  Framing devices like archways, columns, trees, stonewalls, plays a crucial role in suggesting perspectival space......

Stayton embraces an Arcadian world as her inspiration without regard for source or ownership, juxtaposing historical references with contemporary aesthetic concerns about life, beauty and truth.......Her references to classical art and architecture champion the more humanistic concerns of artists from the Italian school, such as Mimmo Paladino and Francesco Clemente.

Janet Stayton boldly creates a new and mysterious synthesis of reality in these heroic yet human environments.

excerpts from Donna Stein text for Janet Stayton Catalog 1986 ,and Ancient Currents Catalog, Fisher Gallery U. of Southern California - 3 artists

In each of these new works - which Stayton calls the 'Classic' series - the canvas is divided into a series of cells or compartments that function as windows onto other scenes and subjects. Invariably at least one of these images is then taken to a greater finish or intensity of colour, or painted more emphatically than the contextual elements surrounding it, which in turn echo or allude to it obliquely.

Stayton's graphic sensibility allows her to use text, patterning, and other design elements in such a way as to lend the overall composition a powerful structure. She likes to employ a 'sgraffito' technique, using the handle of the brush to incise textures or words into a layer of wet stucco. These marks often expose a deeper ground colour, adding another level of richness and helping create the sense of a palimpsest - of layers upon layers.

TOM FLYNN  From  The Art Key  21.12.09
Janet Stayton: An American painter in Tuscany