Wendy Jane BantamMy work is inspired by my mother, Carolyn Rae Johnsen, who was a science writer, environmental journalist and a painter.
When I was very young, we lived on the Mirage Flats of northwestern Nebraska. She was a teacher and would read aloud to me often the stories of the Lakota Sioux, Greek mythology, Brothers Grimm, and the stories of Isis. We lived 53 miles from Wounded Knee and my dad worked on Pine Ridge Reservation. I love the stories of the Lakota. They encompassed the idea that the universe and all things of the natural world contain souls.
In Greek mythology, I was drawn most to the story of Pegasus; whose birth story told he was formed from Medusa's blood and sea foam. The Brothers Grimm tales wove darkness around the human story, and enlightenment came from birds and animals.
When I was ten, I began to collect comic books and became fascinated by the stories of Wonder Woman. Her origin story relates that she was sculpted from clay by her mother, Queen Hippolyta, and superhuman powers given to her by the Greek gods~ and her tools, the Bracelets of Submission and the Lasso of Truth.
Through my childhood fascination with storytelling and the natural world, brought to me by my mother, I began to create my own language and mythology through painting. In these recent works,the natural world overtakes darker forces; and some justice prevails.
HAILING FROM THE LANDSCAPE OF HER CHILDHOOD, WENDY JANE BANTAM GREW UP IN THE MIRAGE FLATS ON THE WESTERN EDGE OF THE NEBRASKA SANDHILLS. AS A GIRL, SHE IMAGINED SURREALISTIC WORLDS WHICH COMBINED TALES FROM THE LAKOTA SIOUX AND THE NATURAL WORLD. TODAY, BANTAM'S VIVID IMAGINATION IS CONVEYED BY HER BRUSHSTROKES AND THE MYTHOLOGY OF REGIONS WHERE SHE HAS BEEN A RESIDENT ARTIST; TURKEY, INDONESIA, AND ENGLAND. RICH AND TEXTURED WITH LAYERS OF PAINT AND COLOR, BANTAM'S CANVASES ARE FILLED WITH PERSONAL ICONOGRAPHY WHICH LEND TO HER WORK'S SIGNATURE NARRATIVE QUALITY OF MAGICAL SCIENCE FICTION STORYTELLING. BANTAM RECEIVED HER BFA DEGREE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS AND HER MFA DEGREE IN PAINTING FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA AT LINCOLN. SHE IS A VISITING LECTURER ON CREATIVITY AND CRITICAL THINKING AND AN ARTIST~IN~RESIDENCE WITH THE LIED CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS AND THE KENNEDY CENTER. HER HOME STUDIO IS IN NEBRASKA.