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My work directly addresses contemporary social justice issues, as informed by a contemplative and mystical approach to Christianity that offers a deeper, wiser, and more loving way of seeing. Interweaving the spiritual and political, I seek a balance between building awareness of racism and illuminating the strength, resilience, and cultural contributions of those who have withstood it.  Influences range from medieval calligraphy to writers and artists of the feminist art movement. I am drawn to early medieval manuscripts that simultaneously express beauty, joy, terror, wonder, laughter and mystery: the work of monks toiling in silence without candle or fire in a labor many considered to be a form of prayer. For both artist and viewer, my paintings are an invitation to pause, listen, and thoughtfully consider challenging issues.


After earning a BFA in studio ceramics from California State University, Long Beach, and an MLS from UCLA, Jane Otto worked as an archivist in historical still and moving image collections on both coasts.  Her work has transitioned from ceramics through quilting to watercolor and calligraphy, with cross-medium influences throughout.  She is an avid reader and bibliophile who has long been fascinated with letterforms and wordplay. She studied piano for fifteen years, so perhaps it is no coincidence that her artworks demonstrate a mathematical precision and a reliance on geometry, including sacred geometry.  Her ideas and images often come to her in the liminal space between sleeping and waking, and are usually brought to fruition while seated in a church pew in her home on Lenni-Lenape land.

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