Janet Maya’s paintings center on issues of race, gender, sexual acceptance, and socio-economic equality. Her art juxtaposes rich black, brown and white silhouettes against colorful backgrounds in boldly simple compositions. Texture is added to give a tactile quality to the surface and form is softly abstracted. With barely delineated facial features, her figures evoke questions about identity and characteristics hidden behind facades. Maya uses stance, posture, and attitude to convey the grounded nature and confrontational aspects of each figure; at the same time, her use of abstracted form leaves them open to varied interpretations. Cultural diversity sparking from from her Colombian, Irish and English heritage progressively becomes apparent.
Many life experiences have influenced Maya’s work. Her artistically inclined mother, intensely encouraged her to evolve in the arts. Her father collected art when he did business in Nigeria and other regions. Early on, she learned about artists of the famed Oshogbo School which arose in the newly independent Nigeria of the early 1960's. A Nigerian friend lived with Maya’s family in the States while she attended Mary Mount College and the friend’s stories of home and her spirituality fascinated the artist. When attending New York’s School of Visual Art, Maya often went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, finding inspiration in the African exhibits that were straightforward in expressing the sex of female and male.
Global politics is of life-long interest that began when her father engaged with regions that were in the midst of revolutionary turmoil. Exposed to political uprise in other countries, the fight for basic freedoms has been part of her life. Growing up through the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War has added to her work as well. An additional impetus to Maya’s art is her spiritual connection to life. As well, inner strength is a major theme throughout, though it is joined with an understanding of ever-present vulnerability to outside conventions.
American, born New York 1962
School of Visual Arts, New York, NY 1983-1986
SUNY Empire State College, NY 2013
September 8 2022 Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, Connecticut
Dec 5 2021 Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, Connecticut
2020 Marquee Projects, Bellport, New York
2022 Marquee Projects, Bellport, New York
Scope Art Fair, New York (upcoming)
2019 Art Miami, Miami, Florida
2018 Dovecote, Westport, Connecticut
2017 Dovecote, Westport, Connecticut
2016 Nyack, New York
2012 Office of the Governor of the State of New York, Washington D.C.
2003 University at Albany, State University of New York
Consulate, New York, New York
2000-01 City Hall, Jersey City, New Jersey
1999 Wizard World Comic Con, Chicago, Illinois
1998 Wizard World Comic Con, Chicago, Illinois
PSA (Domestic Violence Services) Dutchess County, New York
State of New York, documentary
State of New Jersey, documentary
Music Videos (various artists)
Showtime at the Apollo
Motion Picture and Brand/Corporate film & video (Michelin, Verizon
New York Times, Nickelodeon)
The Summit School, Nyack, New York
YMCA, New York
Available Upon Request
Marquee Projects in Bellport, Long Island presents 'Strangers in Stranger Lands' exhibition
"...The soul of the show, however, may be Janet Maya’s 2017 painting, Blessing, with its single faceless female figure holding her hands together in a redemptive gesture of prayer, rendered with the forms and pastels of Milton Avery. Another work by Maya, placed in the gallery’s window, speaks to the hopes and fears of the moment: two almost identical female figures, one black and one white, that achieve a poetic unity despite their outward difference..."
"...Janet Maya’s partially erased faces depict Quaker-like humility congruent with a loss of identity. My gaze lingers over the balance and reversals of Girls 2, returning for refreshment to four submerged feet..."