image courtesy of  Phil Bernard Photographe,  2016.

image courtesy of Phil Bernard Photographe, 2016.

Emily Jan creates intricately crafted, hyper-realistic installations of found objects inhabited by both handmade and found flora and fauna. Her primary materials are wool, reed, cloth, silicone and resin. These environments, like enterable museum dioramas, mix elements of high culture with low culture, science with mythology, and history with current affairs. The creatures, wondrous and monstrous by turns, feel real but are entirely handmade. They are not taxidermy, but are emotionally believable to the point where they are often mistaken as such.

As a writer and illustrator, Jan creates artist’s books that amalgamate the lived research of a semi-nomadic life into works that engage broader concepts such as the circularity of time, the richness of biological and cultural diversity, and the finitude of the planet. Her subject matter ranges in scale from the vast landscapes of the Alaska Range to the minute details of the museum specimen.

In this age of mass extinctions and climate change, the importance of being able to envision places we may never personally see, to hold space for them in our minds and in our hearts, is ever greater. To this end, the work both sculptural and literary seeks to transport some of that distant experience to the viewer – to stretch the boundaries of our collective imaginings in order to encompass the unseen, to learn to love the unknown as well as the familiar, and ultimately to strive to weave all these strands into a larger narrative about what it means to be a human living in a world roiling with turmoil and catastrophe but yet which is still mysterious and beautiful.


Emily Jan is a Montreal-based artist and writer.

Originally hailing from San Francisco, California,  Jan has traveled to 35 countries and lived in four, including South Africa and Mexico. As a wanderer, naturalist, and collector of objects and experiences, she is guided in her work by the spirit of exploration, kinship, and curiousity. 

Jan holds an MFA from Concordia University (2014), a BA with Honours from Brown University (2000), and a BFA with High Distinction from the California College of the Arts (2009). 

She has written two books: still life (2014) and A Denali Book of Hours (2017). They are available here

image courtesy of   Phil Bernard Photographe,   2016  .

image courtesy of Phil Bernard Photographe, 2016.

Emily Jan est une artiste et une écrivaine de Montréal. Elle crée des cabinets de curiosités contemporains – installations hyperréalistes de grande envergure composées de faune et de flore faits main – à travers lesquels se glissent des objets trouvés qui évoquent le lointain et le fantastique. À cette fin, les œuvres de Jan cherchent à transposer une forme d’expérience distante au regardeur: elles repoussent les limites de notre imaginaire collectif pour nous permettre de voir l’invisible, d’apprendre à aimer l’inconnu autant que le familier. Son travail nous amène à réapprendre ce que c’est que d’être humain dans un monde alimenté par la tourmente et la catastrophe, mais qui reste néanmoins mystérieux et beau.

Le travail de Jan a été présenté tant au niveau national qu’international. Parmi les distinctions reçues récemment, notons le prix Excellence in Fibers Award 2017 (Fiber Art Now et le San Jose Textile Museum, aux États-Unis) et le prix du public à la triennale Fiberarts International de 2016 (Pittsburgh, aux États-Unis). Jan a été artiste en résidence à Gibraltar Point (2018), au Elsewhere Museum (2017) et au Denali National Park (2016). Elle est l’auteure et l’illustratrice de deux ouvrages: still life (2014) et A Denali Book of Hours (2017).