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Janet Turner Print Museum

The Janet Turner Print Museum

Gallery Re-Opening!

After 15 months of closure due to the pandemic, we are excited to welcome guests back to the gallery in June for the exhibition "Janet Turner: Unwavering Naturalist."

Gallery will be open Thursdays and Fridays in June from noon to 4:00pm.

We continue to be committed to the health and wellness of our community and will be adhering to the following guidelines while open:

  • Staff and visitors are required to wear a face covering while in the building and maintain 6 feet of physical distance at all times.
  • The gallery space will have a limited capacity of 10 visitors at a time.
  • Staff will maintain a frequent cleaning schedule including wiping all touch surfaces after each use. Hand sanitizer will be provided for all guests.

We thank you for helping us keep the health and safety of our guests and staff, as well as the overall gallery experience, positive and of the highest priority.

If you missed any of our 2020-21 virtual exhibitions, they are still available for you to enjoy.

Janet Turner: Unwavering Naturalist

Gallery View
Gallery Installation View
Exhibition Curated by Adria Davis and Laura Nice
Turner Print
Janet Turner, "Wood Ducks," silkscreen/intaglio, 1972.
Turner Print
Janet Turner, "Bees Amid a Tulip Tree," serigraph/softground, 1978.
Turner Plate
Janet Turner, "Bees Amid a Tulip Tree," zinc plate, c. 1978.
Turner Print
Janet Turner, "Immature Golden Eagle," linocut/serigraph, 22/140 E.V., c. 1975
Turner Print
Janet Turner, "Beginning of Night," linocut, edition of 80, 1952
Turner Print
Janet Turner, "Snowy Owls," scratchboard study, 1980
Turner Print
Janet Turner, "Insects on Bark," egg tempera painting, c. 1960
Turner Print
Janet Turner, "Finches and Artichokes," linocut/serigraph, 25/54, 1962
Turner Print
Janet Turner, "Cedar Wax Wings," printer: Nancy Leslie, serigraph, 120/175, 1988
Turner Print
Janet Turner, "Finches on Persimmon," silkscreen, c. 1960
Turner Print
Janet Turner, "Stranded Roots," etching, edition of 25, 1953
Turner Print
Janet Turner, "Windswept," etching, S/P, c. 1950
Turner Print
Janet Turner, "White Pelicans," linocut, edition of 50, c. 1950
Gallery View
Gallery Installation View
Gallery View
Gallery Installation View
Gallery View
Gallery Installation View
Gallery View
Gallery Installation View
Gallery View
Gallery Installation View
Gallery View
Gallery Installation View
Gallery View
Gallery Installation View
  • About the exhibition

    Janet Elizabeth Turner (1914-1988)

    Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Turner was raised on a six-acre farm. She spent multiple summers at a nature camp in Cape Cod, which contributed to her love of biology and art. She studied botany at Stanford University while also taking art classes, and ultimately graduated with a degree in “Far Eastern History” (BA, 1936). Soon after graduation she embarked on a trip to Asia, traveling to Japan, China, the Philippines, Manchuria and Korea on a Phi Delta Kappa tour.

    Turner’s biography is punctuated by her many acts of persistence and tenacity. She enrolled in the Kansas City Art Institute, studying under John DeMartelly and Thomas Hart Benton, important figures in the Regionalist Movement. After graduating, Turner was hired as a teacher at the Girls’ Collegiate School in Claremont and while working also earned her MFA in 1947 from Scripps, where she studied under Millard Sheets. After receiving her MFA she was hired as an assistant professor at Stephen F. Austin State College in Nacogdoches, Texas. During her time at Stephen F. Austin, Turner established an impressive national profile, earning awards and honors and participating in many prestigious exhibitions. Frustrated by the lack of appreciation for her work by her male colleagues, Turner sought new opportunities to achieve her goals. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and loved her time in New York, enrolling in Columbia and earning her doctorate in education in 1960 from Columbia. Near the end of her degree she was offered a job at CSU, Chico (1959), where she taught until her retirement in 1981.

    Janet Turner was selected as the first Chico State professor to be awarded the California State University’s Outstanding Professor Award (1975) and finished her career with many accolades and honors. The Annex Gallery notes that “Turner was an avid collector of fine prints, beginning with a women printmakers’ print club in which she traded and critiqued works alongside her contemporaries. She expanded her collection to include works she found along her travels, and she did not discriminate between popular and obscure artists.” With generosity and vision she donated her large collection of prints by artists from around the world to CSU, Chico, which form the foundation of the Turner Collection (now including over 4000 prints).

    Janet Turner exhibited her work prolifically throughout her long career, and her prints and paintings have been exhibited in every state, in 50 countries, and on six continents. They have been shown in over 200 solo exhibitions including in multiple cities in Japan and Israel. Turner was elected an “Active Member of Audubon Artists in the Graphic Arts Section,” and was lauded by Patye Billfaldt, art editor for the Houston Post for having “meticulous technique,” “but for all of this the results are not photographic. It is a realism that is selective rather than representative and academic in a studied sense.” She was also an elected Member of the National Academy of Design in New York City, the National Association of Women Artists, and served as President of the National Serigraph Society.  

    Some of the works included in this exhibition were created during her time in Nacogdoches, and others are from her Chico years. As David Farmer notes “while the quiet town of Nacogdoches was rich in history and surrounded by East Texas woods and wildlife, it seemed remote for Turner, fresh from her undergraduate years at Stanford, her studies in Kansas City, and enriching experiences teaching and studying art at Claremont. Yet, her next nine years at Nacogdoches were intense and productive. Natural habitats like the Big Thicket were nearby, rich in the wildlife -- especially birds -- she loved to observe.” The Grace Museum in Abilene, Texas, explains that “Turner’s work reflects her work as an environmentalist and close observer of flora and fauna in their natural habitat. Each detailed and carefully created print or painting reveals the beauty of the natural world teaming with life, color and form. The variety of printmaking techniques on view demonstrates Turner’s mastery of serigraphy, linocut, engraving, aquatint, and lithography. The range of color and complexity of each print often entails multiple printmaking processes on a single print.”

    The prints in this exhibition reveal what James McManus refers to as Turner’s “position as an ecologist and an astute observer of nature.” Roger Lederer reflects that “in California, she began to concentrate on local bird images. She took hundreds of photographs and often borrowed bird skins from the university’s natural history museum. Birds were the centerpiece of all of her works, and the backgrounds were faithful to the natural habitat. A pheasant, gingerly walking through a dense bed of live and dead reeds, hidden from prying eyes, looks up at a Marsh Wren peering down at him. Her magpie in a tree contrasts with the blossoms behind him. It appears that the tree was the main focus of the print and a magpie somehow got in the middle of it. In addition, two other magpies are surreptitiously flying in the distance, filling up the little space that the blossoms do not” while other works offer “examples of full frame composition – the subjects fill the picture. Although the birds are realistic, their positions and interactions are not… demonstrat[ing] her knowledge of Japanese woodcuts in their flat space.” 

    In addition to prints, paintings, process materials (scratchboards, silkscreen and zinc plate) the exhibition is greatly enhanced by Janet Turner’s own voice.  Featuring clips from several educational videos Turner filmed in the 1970s, including “Why Art? Why Prints?” (1976); “Beginning Printmaking: Printing Technique” (1975); “Beginning Printmaking: Different Qualities of Design” (1975); and “Beginning Steps for Etching” (1978) viewers can get an intimate look into Turner’s process and artistic priorities. 

    Janet Turner was unwavering in her celebration, concern, and investigation of the natural world, and we are extremely lucky to be able to draw inspiration and energy from her detailed visions.

    Laura Nice, June 2021

Strategic Plan