Jane Harris was born in Dorset in 1956. She received a Higher Diploma Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art in 1981 and an MA Fine Art from Goldsmiths College in 1991. She was a lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths from 1991 until 2006 when she moved to France, where she now lives and works.
Her work is held in many major collections including Arts Council England; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery ; Colorado Universtiy Art Museum ; Ernst & Young, London ; Fidelity Worldwide Investment; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge ; FRAC MÈCA La Nouvelle Aquitaine, FRAC-Artothèque Limousin, FRAC Poitou- Charente ; Marsh, London ; Pallant House, Chichester (Golder-Thompson Gift) ; Pictet & Cie, London ; Rhode Island School of Design Museum ; SAKS Fifth Avenue, New York ; Southampton City Art Gallery and the UK Government Art Collection.
In 1995 she was awarded the Arts Foundation Painting Fellowship and she has twice been Artist in Residence at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation CT USA, in 2011 and 2015. She has been a prize winner at the John Moores Liverpool (1995) and the Jerwood Drawing Open (1996) and in 2012 she won The Sunny Dupree FamilyAward for a woman artist at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
For the past three decades, Jane Harris has investigated the geometric form of the ellipse - an elastic shape that lends itself to allusion and can take on multiple identities. Drawn from templates, the forms are painted in various relationships to each other, in two or three colours. From these simple parameters she is able to create images that remind how the basic effects of all painting lie in the movement of light passing across a surface, which carries the substance of ‘formed and transformed’ matter. Her paintings express and originate from an intense involvement with the natural world and phenomena that exist within it: the sun backlighting a cloud, or the movement of wind on water, the granular quality of dusk. Her elliptical forms have a slippery kind of ambiguity and through her handling of paint she proposes various possibilities for how we perceive them. Hovering between non-figurative and figurative, they can be apprehended as shapes which appear flat on the surface of a support while simultaneously carrying a sense of recessional depth.