Various pictures of flowers and a tiny tiny book.

Jane Marchant, "An Extraordinarily Condensed Micro-Encyclopedia of Botany of the San Francisco Bay Area," 2022; excerpted bound accordion microbook with jacket; found paper, ink, and glue; ¾ in x ½ in, 22 pages readable via magnifying glass. Photos by Jane Marchant

Jane Marchant

Artist in Residence, 2022

Portrait of Jane Marchant with white paint on her lips.

Artist Statement

As an interdisciplinary artist I combine analogue photographs, prose, research, found materials, and collage into narrative. Visual experimentation centers my practice and metaphors of race, colonialism, womanhood, and America intersect. Using my own family history as an entry point, I engage audiences in the complex rationalities behind racial passing, and what passing reveals about American and global colonial history. 

A significant aspect of our collective history relates to plants: wherever people go, we seem to bring plants with us. These plants fill California’s streets: Indian laurel fig, jasmine, eucalyptus, lavender. I think about these plants in relation to the native plants of California, and what their beauty and invasion represent, as I write An Extraordinarily Condensed Encyclopedia of Botany of the San Francisco Bay Area, a memoir taking the form of a colonial florilegium. Photographs, pressed flowers, typography, and design qualify it as an interdisciplinary work of literary book art, and accompanying eventual publication I hope to curate an immersive exhibition incorporating scent, photographs, and objects.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands, I plan to continue working on manuscript edits for my Encyclopedia of Botany, specifically focusing on the narrative arc of the imagery. I will use analogue cameras and film to photograph native and introduced flora of the area, including a series of nude self-portraits with the trees, wood, and plants. I will also edit a short story following a young woman passing as white in contemporary California Gold Country, as she explores caves and her own family’s history of passing, miscegenation, and motherhood.

Selected Work

A Family History of Fear,” Catapult Magazine, May 09, 2022. Translation from the German of Margarita Iov’s lyric essay on her family’s history with Chernobyl, migration, and cancer.

Plant People, An Anthology of Environmental Artists,” Plants & Poetry (Fall 2021). Anthologized Extraordinarily Condensed Excerpt from Jane Marchant’s Encyclopedia of Botany. Additional digital publication accompanied by audio performance files.

Scrubbing Bubbles,” Facility Magazine, print, Fall 2019. Poetic essay structured as water droplets on tile accompanied by issue launch performance-reading at the Knockdown Center (Queens, NY), in an enormous, gender-neutral bathroom.

The State of the Union: A Photonovella of American Politics,” Columbia Journal Online, May/June 2018. Three-part reportage of Donald J. Trump’s Inauguration and subsequent Women’s Marches. Combined photographs and prose into panels for scrolled-viewing as a digital book.

The Beginnings,” Apogee Journal, January 2018. A lyric essay to tell a complex and living tale of race, gender, and family secrets.