Selected Art Practice

Includes projects and exhibitions both inside and outside the gallery.
(click on images for more detail)


Mantle is an interdisciplinary artwork by visual artist Jane Calow.

A requiem for irrecoverable bodies lost at sea; it was triggered by a visit to Coverack, Cornwall where the Mantle breaks through the earth’s surface. This geological phenomenon becoming a metaphor for past events that can no longer be hidden or contained. While one generation of a family may feel unable to speak of a traumatic experience, those events often re-emerge psychically for later generations.

Jane has a long-running preoccupation with spatialisation and memory; underpinned by themes of class, migration and mourning.  

The artwork is informed by psychoanalysis intimately enmeshed with social, cultural, historic and geographical specificity.


Jane used her photographs, film, critical writing and artist’s book in dialogue with collaborators from a range of disciplines. They include Daniel Hinchcliffe (Curator), Clive Radford (Composer), Juliet McCarthy (Cellist), Nic Howes (Geographer) and Adam Pinfold (Audio-Visual Engineer).

The first live performance of Mantle took place on 13th October 2022 at Factory Studios, Bristol. It features projected film with newly composed, original live cello music, recorded ambient sound work with electric guitar, a printed ‘silent libretto’ held by each audience member and an artist’s book (available to buy at the event).

  • 2022 Mantle performed at Factory Studios, Bristol

© Jane Calow                                                                                             




Traject is an artwork by Jane Calow that explores the idea of a ‘moveable site’ through an artist’s book and the conversion of seismic data into music, highlighting themes of spatialisation and displacement.
Jane produced an artist’s book, working with composer Kathy Hinde and Dr Sheila Peacock (School of Earth Sciences, University of Birmingham) on a process that generated music from seismic readings taken from a filled-in underpass/shopping area in Birmingham. The computer programme used to translate the data into music, was specially designed for the project by Computer Scientist, Dr Chris Hinde, (Loughborough University of Technology).
At this event cellist Juliet McCarthy performed 9 musical ‘interruptions’, followed by a discussion with the artist and her collaborators.

Traject: a way, or a place of crossing over.
A passage or transmission through any medium, or through space.
Vision may be considered…as it signifies the passing or trajection of rays of light.
A perception transmitted to the mind, an impression, a mental picture.

  • 2016 Traject presented at Birmingham Cathedral, a few minutes walk from the original data-gathering site.

© Jane Calow  

© Jane Calow                                                                                              
  • 2006 Artist’s book (from Traject) became part of the Tate Britain Collection

© Jane Calow                                                                        
  • 2005 Traject, University of East London

  • 2005 Traject, University College, Worcester

  • 2004 Traject, University of Goteburg, Sweden

  • 2003 Traject, at Warp and Woof: Aurality, Textuality and Musicality Conference, University of Leeds

  • 2003 Traject, Corsham Music Festival

  • 2003 Traject, Premiere, Guild Hall, Bath


To be 'engrained' is to be indelibly marked. 'Engrainment' has associations with the mind as well as physical process such as the dying of cloth through saturation. This artwork includes sculptural work in combination with a deep matt crystal jetprint photographic piece on aluminium. 

© Jane Calow                                                                                              
  • Sept 2001 Engrainment, The Michael Tippett Centre, Bath Spa University

© Jane Calow                                                                     
  • 2008 Engrainment photographic piece exhibited as part of the University of Bath permanent art collection

Reliquiae: The Remainings

Reliquiae: The Remainings was a site-specific, temporary art work consisting of 5 large scale photographs and a wall-mounted column constructed from clothing. 
The medium shared across the work was graphite dust, chosen because of its association with drawing and because of its instability; in the photographs the other medium was water.
The garment sections, thickly impregnated with graphite powder, gave the impression of a velvety surface which asks to be touched. However to do so, would destroy the delicate patina and cover your fingers with deeply opaque black dust. 
The photographs came from a process of making that questioned Roland Barthes' assertion that the referent is always attached to the photograph. Renaissance perspective in photographs and painting, the mastering eye, were also questioned, in that there were no vanishing points and spatial relationships were disrupted in the construction of these images.

© Jane Calow                                                           
  • 2001 Reliquiae: The Remainings, Brewhouse Arts Centre, Taunton

© Jane Calow                                                                                              

Dead Sea - The Salt Documents

This non-permanent, site-specific, post-minimalist art work, used materials, such as salt, old clothing, blankets and books to explore memory and association. Jane Calow's making process included 'drowning' books in salt and water. The pieces, Dead Sea - The Salt Documents and Sub Terra in different ways, considered the idea of submerged terrain and displacement. The work was exhibited in conjunction with a one day symposium Space, Architecture and Psyche held at the University of Bath, Architecture Department.

© Jane Calow                                                                                              
  • 2000 Dead Sea: The Salt Documents, University of Bath

History Painting/Painting History

In 1987, Sara Selwood, then at the AIR Gallery London, curated the exhibition State of the Nation commissioned by the Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry. Margaret Thatcher had been in power since 1979. The exhibition brought together artists and satirists addressing socially motivated themes.  At that time Jane Calow's art practice worked within the frame of critical realism, through figurative painting and drawing informed by art historical, Marxist and Feminist discourses. A series of pieces she produced working with an unemployed man, were included in State of the Nation.
Art practice emerged during the late 1960s seeking to contest the supremacy of the gallery, critic, dealer system, with the intention to create new audiences and question the role of the artist as sole author of artistic works. An example of this counter practice is the Artists' Placement Group formed by John Latham and Barbara Steveni who set up placements for artists to enter into dialogue with non-art institutions and sites.  
The installation Women and Work (1973-75) and the film Night-Cleaners (1970-73) are works by other artists that also contextualise Jane Calow's work at the time. Both projects were produced collectively and primarily concerned with the division of labour, Mary Kelly being one of the key participants.   

© Jane Calow                                                          
  • 1985-90 The Leicester Collection for Schools and Colleges

© Jane Calow                                                                                              
  • 1987 State of the Nation. Group Show curated by Sara Selwood (AIR Gallery, London). Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry 

    © Jane Calow                                                      
  • 1983-85 Residencies organised by IKON Gallery, Birmingham

© Jane Calow                                                           

                                              © Jane Calow                                              
  • 1983 William Morris Gallery, London

  • 1982 Congress House, Great Russell St., London

© Jane Calo