Jane Irish's art invites confrontations between realms that rarely collide. Painting in egg tempera on large-scale canvas, paper, and Tyvek, she infuses sumptuous interiors with memories of colonialism and orientalism. Irish incorporates imagery from her own travels through France and Vietnam, manipulating depth and angle to blur distinctions between inside and outside, landscape and décor. She further interweaves these labyrinthine interiors with the motifs and poetry of Vietnam War veterans, an impulse that began in 2005, when she organized the exhibition Operation Rapid American Withdrawal in response to the invasion of Iraq. Alongside her elusive and yet alluring painting output, Irish creates ceramic vases that address these questions of beauty and meaning through decorative and cultural patterns.
Jane Irish received her MFA in 1980 from Queens College, CUNY, and has exhibited at venues including Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Institute of Contemporary Art, PA; the Walker Art Center, MN; Delaware Center for Contemporary Art; Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Irish has been the recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a Painters and Sculptors Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, a Painting Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, and a Painting Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work is held in public collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Irish lives and works in Philadelphia.