Ceramic artist and painter Janis Cutler was born in Florida in April, 1962. She grew up in the metropolitan area and was fortunate to have been exposed to its many cultural offerings. As a young child, among many of her artistic influential memories was NYC Ballet’s performance of Stravinsky's “Firebird”, which made her aware of art's powerful ability to transcend into the dreamworld permeated by Chagalls paintings and costumes. She was fascinated by the refined sculptural architecture which housed the wild animals in the Bronx and Central Park Zoos. The stilled creatures and artifacts of Natural History Museum in NYC fueled her imagination. Being at the crossroads of such a cultural mix led her natural curiosity to absorb everything. She internalized this stimulation with equal measure of validity and approaches her art as an ever-changing medium to bring forth the internalization of both external and inner worlds.
Janis Cutler Gear received a Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting at Carnegie Mellon University in 1984 with a concentration in sculpture and ceramics. She studied under ceramic artist Edward Eberle who encouraged her to integrate her ceramic work with her imaginative painting and drawing. Janis would layer expressive washes mixed with incisive detail to create surrealistic, atmospheric narrative imagery.
In 1989 she attended The New York Academy of Art in NYC, receiving a Master of Fine Arts in Painting in 1991. She studied with Belgian artist Xavier De Callatay and was later employed by him as a muralist painter at the Children's Museum of NYC. She also studied with realist Jack Beal and classical artist Ted Schmidt.
Through her years of study, Janis developed her skills during various art excursions. These include woodcarving with The Wildwood Marionette Theatre inVT, painting watercolors of the atmospheric Nova Scotia sea coast, painting the vibrancy of Trinidad and Tobago, painting the mystical British Cornish Coast, and exploring art in the ancient hillside of Umbria , Italy under the direction of abstract expressionist Nicolas Carone of the Studio School of NY.
In 1991, she moved to a tiny dramactic windswept island called Foula in the Shetland Isles. There, she was immersed in turbulent skies and sea, living on a croft with the raw power of nature. Janis was greatly inspired by this isolated treeless island inhabited mostly by ancient sheep, seals and seabirds. Her work celebrated this environment and as a result was featured in two solo shows at the Shetland Museum.
In 1996, Janis moved to rural Sussex County, NJ. and set up a ceramic studio.She is fortunate to have the internationally recognized Peter's Valley Craft Center within close proximity and has been involved in numerous Noborigama wood firings led by ceramicist Bruce Dehnert. She exhibits her work annually at the Peters Valley Fine Craft Fair. Her work has been exhibited at Peter's Valley Gallery. This September she will be teaching an introduction to wheelthrowing and surface decoration workshop.
Janis Cutler Gear is currently a ceramic designer for Blue Tree Store on Madison Ave in New York City. Her work is also available at Silvermine Galleries in Connecticut, Peter's Valley Gallery Store in Layton NJ and Amano Gallery in Lambertville NJ.
For several years she was a ceramic designer for the artisan boutique Love Adorned located in SOHO and the Hamptons. Her work has been carried by the American Folk Museum and An American Craftsman Gallery in
She has won multiple awards and exhibits her work in many fine craft shows such as in The Bruce Museum in Greewich CT, Westport Fine Art Show in CT,, Crafts at the Cathedral at St John the Divine in NYC The Brooklyn Museum, The Javitts Center, Peters Valley, Center,The Berkshires, among many others in the Metroplitan Area.
Her ceramic work has been described as, ephemeral, deep, and romantic. Often her pieces are surreal; other times they are full of color, light, and rhythmic pattern, celebrating the joy of beauty in nature. The merging of disparate elements creates a new language; the intertwining of nature, culture and art history coexists within her work to create compelling poetic pictorial narrative imagery.