WHEN I was first introduced to Henri Matisse’s Cut-Outs, I was drawn to his use of color and shape to create such powerful compositions that, to me, were visually explosive. I was living outside of Washington, DC where his works took up an entire floor – The Tower – in the East Wing of The National Gallery of Art. I remember walking into the space, looking up at “Large Decoration With Masks,” a cut-out that took up an entire wall of the gallery. Tears welled in my eyes as I was completely overwhelmed with the beauty of this visual imagery. At that moment, I knew that my admiration for this artist would follow me throughout my career as an art teacher and visual artist.
My hand painted cut paper collages draw their inspiration from Matisse and my love of the outdoors. I work to create an energetic balance of positive and negative space with organic shapes derived from nature. In some collages, I may create images with a more realistic representation of a specific place, while others may simply evolve into more abstract expressive compositions. My intention is for each piece to evoke a feeling of rhythm and balance where patterns of colors and shapes invite the viewer to experience a personal connection.
JANET KANETT Manuta grew up outside of Washington, D.C. where her father, a self- taught artist, would reproduce the covers of Life Magazine every Sunday. Using simple materials, pencil and paper, he would create incredible reproductions of these images of what was happening in the world. Janet would sit alongside him, intrigued with his natural talent. She was inspired to pursue art classes in school and went on to obtain a degree in Art Education at The University of Maryland.
Janet has taught art to students in grades K-8, both outside of Washington, D.C., and then in Upstate New York, where she and her husband raised their son and daughter. There, she completed her Masters of Art in Special Education while teaching art to students with learning, physical, and emotional disabilities. She realized how crucial the arts are to the cognitive and creative development in children of all abilities.
She and her husband relocated to West Seattle in the summer of 2015 where she continues to teach – and make – art. She aspires to instill her love and admiration for Henri Matisse in her students, where even the youngest students in Kindergarten learn color theory as they paint sheets of paper and cut organic shapes, using both positive and negative shapes to create a collage for which Matisse would be proud!
I BEGIN by painting sheets of drawing paper with acrylic paint, focusing on creating different color palettes for each collage. As I begin cutting out shapes, or “drawing with scissors,” (without any pre-drawn sketches), different themes and designs evolve from my imagination where visual images I have experienced have left an impression in my mind.
Since moving to this part of the country, hiking and camping in the Pacific Northwest have inspired me to work from photographs of the unique natural landscapes I have discovered.
Each piece may go through many changes and revisions, until a feeling of balance between colors and shapes has been achieved.