I like pulling out the absurd, the hypocritical, the ironic and the silly bullshit from our everyday lives, and giving it its own spotlight in a painting.
Janet Dake is a visual artist from Kentucky, currently residing in New Orleans. She primarily creates large-scale, representational oil paintings that focus on figures of women and queer people. Through captivating figures and intricate backgrounds, her paintings tell a snapshot of a storyline. These stories are meant to boldly and beautifully reflect contemporary issues, including gender expression, climate change and the fragility of Western socio-political structures. Though superficially beautiful, the content of her painting plays with discomfort, putting them on the edge of visual pleasure.
In 2020 Dake graduated cum laude from the University of Louisville with degrees in Art and Political Science. This set of dual studies heavily informs her practice and how she develops ideas. Like most artists, much of her work roots back to an autobiographical understanding of the world: women, feminism, queerness and isolation. But her interest and education surrounding our deeper political context takes her work beyond that. Dake’s paintings aim to capture broad, complex themes that reverberate throughout our lives, bringing them “back down to earth” to individual level.
In 2021 Dake completed an Artist-in-Residence program in Toronto, Canada. Over the course of three months, she created a body of work entitled Human Nature and had her first solo show in downtown Toronto. Since moving to New Orleans in early 2022, Dake has completed several paintings and is represented by a number of local stores.
Dake is inspired by the humanity, eccentricity, and storytelling in the work of Frida Kahlo, Kehinde Wiley, Alice Neel, Amy Sherad and Kent Monkman.
My work is about people, both real and imagined. I primarily use oil paints; sometimes dabbling with gold leaf and other mixed media. Though my style is certainly representational, it isn’t exactly realistic. Once a likeness is captured, I want to let the painting breathe.
There is an element of humor in all of my paintings. I like pulling out the absurd, the hypocritical, the ironic and the silly bullshit from our everyday lives, and giving it its own spotlight in a painting. At the same time, there is a more serious undercurrent in my work: where power sits and what that means for everyone else. Here, I’m deeply interested in the power of symbolism and narrative.
2020 University of Louisville
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Arts in Art,
Minor in Spanish
2014 Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts
2022 Group show, Tim Faulkner Gallery, Louisville, KY
2021 Human Nature solo show, Gallery 1313, Toronto, Canada
Pharmacopia, Chateau Gallery, Louisville, KY
Team Kentucky Gallery, Kentucky State Capitol, Frankfort, KY
Beginnings/Endings virtual show, Arts Connect, Lexington, KY
Rock, Paper, Scissors virtual show, Arts Connect, Lexington, KY
Beyond the Mask: Creation in Isolation virtual show, Lyric Theater and Cultural Arts Center, Lexington, KY
2020 Studio Member Show, Artists’ Attic, Lexington, KY
2021 Artist-in-residence, Sponsorship by Marcee Ruby and Paul Rowan,
2022 Paintings published and reviewed in White Lotus digital magazine,
2021 Waiting on Our Witness painting covered in the Woodford Sun newspaper, Versailles, KY
PROJECTS & COMMISSIONS
2021 On the Rise, mural project at Versailles Brewing Co., Versailles, KY
2021 Margaux Farm in Early Spring, 3,000 sq. foot trompe l’oeil mural at
Margaux Farm, Midway, KY
2019 Risen, Forecastle Foundation live-painting exhibition