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TAG Introduces Jana Marlene Mader

Welcome to our artist interview series. We will be speaking to new members and sharing their work. This week we are proud to feature artist Jana Mader. You can see more of Jana's work in our second show of the 2021 season "Solo Spotlights" from March 12 - April 11.

Blue Halo

Jana Mader, Blue Halo

What brought you to the Tivoli Artists Gallery and/or the Hudson Valley?

I came to the Hudson Valley for the first time in the fall of 2017. I was working at the University of North Carolina and attended a conference at Bard. Ten months later, I became a visiting scholar at the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard and moved to Tivoli. I fell in love with the area during my first visit and am grateful to now call the Hudson Valley my home. Currently, I’m completing my doctoral thesis in German and American Literature at Bard and also at the University of Munich. I was born and raised in Germany, and moved to the United States almost ten years ago. Making art has always been part of my life and is a wonderful balance to my scholarly work.

I had stopped by the Tivoli Artists Gallery shortly after I moved to Tivoli — I still remember the cold winter’s night and a very warm welcome and lovely chat with the person working that evening. Even though I was not thinking of becoming a member at the time, two years and many shows later, I joined TAG in 2020. Creating is always a dialog; a dialogue with yourself, with others, with the community. Galleries like TAG create the space for a public dialog. I’m thankful to be part of the exchange.


Jana Mader, Human

What inspires your work?

I get inspired by people’s journeys and stories especially the ones that push boundaries, think in unexpected ways and don’t shy away from trying out new things. I have great respect for people who “put themselves out there”. There’s a quote by Theodore Roosevelt that sums it up beautifully:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Individuals who “dare greatly", contribute, and take bold steps forward are one of my biggest inspirations.

3 LeavesAndWater

Jana Mader, Leaves and Water

What themes do you pursue?

Two major themes that play significant roles in my art are nature and humans, especially the theme of femininity. My pieces connect beauty and chaos and are both, raw and fragile at the same time. My approaches to making art are diverse: paintings, installations, curatorial projects, and writing; I have published two books and am the co-founder of the nonprofit organization “Women Imprint”, which highlights women creatives and their (oftentimes under-valued) impact on communities.

All these projects are intertwined, nurtured by one another and make me feel “whole”. Reading about inspiring women for “Women Imprint” fuels my creativity in my own art, and through conducting literary research for my Ph.D., I learn more about history, politics, the arts in general. Everything is connected and that’s why the two themes “nature” and “humanity” always come together, I see them both in my paintings.

4 Blues

Jana Mader, Blues

What do you find challenging right now — personally or in general?

One great challenge in the art world is the ongoing discrimination of Black, Latinx and other minority individuals. The lack of diversity in museums, institutions, and galleries is very problematic and begins with unequal access to education and to other resources. Current debates around institutional racism in the creative sector are therefore not only an adequate and timely reaction but also extremely important.

Other ongoing challenges are the impacts our way of living and creating has on the environment. More and more, we think about where materials come from, who made them, who had to suffer or even die for them. It is very important to me that my art (like everything else I “use” and consume) is free of animal cruelty and/or I know where they were produced.

The pandemic, for sure, highlighted those two once again: the ongoing racism and discrimination against minorities and the struggle for a healthy planet.

What makes you happy?

I once read that the foundation of true happiness is gratitude and I think that’s true. This past year, more than ever, was about staying grateful even if it’s just for the little things: a beautiful sunset over the Hudson River, a walk in the forest when there’s fresh snow on the ground and no one’s walked the path before you, a delicious dinner cooked at home, spending time with my wonderful partner. So my answer would be the little things that are sometimes not even that little, like time to create, time to experience the world, time to see, smell, taste, love, and be loved— all of these things make happy.

5 Portrait

Jana Mader

Click here to visit Jana's website, here to visit her on Instagram. She'd love to hear from you!


The Gift of Art

Tivoli Artists Gallery remains incredibly grateful for all of our friends in the Hudson Valley, and we thank everyone for their continued well wishes and donations to the gallery. A lot of wonderful art has happened at the gallery since we opened our doors in January of 1993. With your support, we want to make it another 25 years.

Would you consider making a small donation to the gallery? $10, $25 or $50 if you are able - any amount is appreciated. TAG is a 501c3 non-profit organization, so your contribution is tax deductible. And remember, we also have gift certificates available – because what gift is better than the gift of art?

If anyone has questions, our members are available via email.

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