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 Jean Arnold  (20/21st century)

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Lived/Active: Utah      Known for: dynamic abstract paintings-city scenes

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter and collage artist of abstract city scenes with bright lights, bright colors and moving lines suggesting fast movement, Jean Arnold creates cityscape images from shapes and colors.  She gets most of her ideas from sketches she does while riding buses in her native city of Salt Lake as well as Chicago, San Francisco and Reno.  She loves mixing together on one canvas scenes from several cities and often swipes her images with oil sticks to create a sense of urgency.  "Traffic lights, trucks, street signs, and an occasional tree or mountain range fuse together in one picture."  Of her work she says her goal is to create "something that is not static but breathing."

Arnold was raised in Idaho and appeared to have art talent from childhood.  She took a degree in commercial art and illustration at Utah State University, and in 1991 did postgraduate work at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.  However, the strongest influences on her artwork were a residency at the Vermont Studio in Johnson, and a program in Umbria, Italy, at the International School of Art where she took classes in Abstract Expressionism from students of Hans Hoffman.

Returning home from Italy, Arnold found the landscape of Utah ugly compared to Umbria, but began sketching what she saw from cars while her husband did the driving.  She decided to rid herself of the Hudson River style of painting with themes of harmony and serenity and focus on the way things were/are in HER world---the fact that change is constant and nothing is fixed in time or space.  She says:  "City life may be disturbing and test our reserves, yet I still find it alive and beautiful."

Bonnie Gangelhoff, "Metropolis", Southwest Art, May 2006, 126-129

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