Janet Olivia Henry
Janet Olivia Henry was born in 1947 in New York City, New York, where currently she lives and works. Henry attended the School of Visual Arts from 1964 to 1965 and later received her Associate Degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1969. The artist’s work in collage and assemblage draws from American culture, using images from magazines, dolls, and objects produced in miniature to create connections and juxtapositions. Her work frequently draws from and comments on her experiences, as in The Studio Visit (1983) where the artist stages the scene of a studio visit in miniature. In The Studio Visit,a Barbie Star Trek Lieutenant Uhura doll, a recurring material in Henry’s work, sits beside a smaller, white doll who is literally framed within the diorama, pointing to the centrality of a white, outside perspective on the work of Black artists. At times, Henry’s work in assemblage plays with language, as in a series of sculptures that are drawn from synonyms and homonyms for the word “two.” In all of her work, using techniques of collage and assemblage, the artist uses the referential and symbolic charge of her materials to create new meaning and question the culture that produces these materials.