New alt_space Exhibition in March February 22 2018

Natural Philosophy

On View: March 3 - April 14, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 3, 4-7 PM
Artists Talk: Friday, March 16, 11 AM


Based in St. Augustine, Florida, Jan Tomlinson Master is an esteemed artist specializing in environmental installation and public art.  For this exhibition, Natural Philosophy, Jan will be intertwining natural and man-made elements to form three distinct yet interrelated thematic groupings that explore human relationships with the natural world and with one another, themes that drives much of her work.  

The first component to this installation, Catenary Harvest, uses wheat and lavendar to explore human relationships with nature for nourishment and healing.  “Nature exists as our ally if we allow that relationship to be part of our life philosophy,” explains Jan.  In the next grouping, Copse Ensembles and Home and Hearth, Jan examines the ‘delicate balance’ between man and nature by hanging, tying or stacking natural elements with minimal support.  These elements include dragon wood, branches, and charred bark secured with man-made elements such as shoelaces, ribbon or chains. The final thematic grouping, titled Reflect, offers both a literal and metaphorical “reflection” through the display of vintage and antique mirrors. On these mirrors, Jan has etched the glass with phrases culled from journals and diary entries that she has kept since the 1970s.  In addition to referencing the role of the mirror in daily rituals, these etched mirrors also expose Jan’s personal thoughts and musings in a public way, allowing the 'reflections' to resonate for the viewer as “both voyeuristic and as an acknowledgment of our shared humanity.” 

Each installation that Jan creates is site-specific, allowing new connections and interpretations to present themselves in each environment.  Jan notes about the process, “The ritual of installing in a gallery setting is a metaphor for struggle and redemption. Each installation I view as an ‘episode’. Even if I install a similar sculpture in a different location, each time it will differ in difficulty and appearance: like a site-specific performance.”  


A childhood playing by Hogtown Creek in Gainesville, Florida and spending summers exploring her grandparent's mountain property in Asheville, North Carolina, Jan Tomlinson Master realized at an early age that there was solace in nature. Those childhood experiences in nature now translate into environmental installation and public art.

Jan Tomlinson Master began her education in Architecture at Clemson University in South Carolina before an experience at the infamous Scorpio Rising at Happy Valley Pottery outside of Athens, Georgia, inspired her to change direction.She went on to receive her BA in Art from Stetson University in Deland, Florida, followed by an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Delaware, with an emphasis in Installation Art. 

Jan has collaborated on public projects in Florida for the Jacksonville Art in Public Places program, the Bird Island Park in Ponte Vedra and the City of St. Augustine. In 2015 she was included in the Compassionate St. Augustine Obelisk Art 450 as one of 25 artists to embellish a commemorative obelisk. She was chosen to travel to Aviles, Spain to represent OA450 in the event, Noche Blanca. Her obelisk in St Augustine has been donated to the new Children’s Museum.

As an installation artist and sculptor, Master has exhibited in the Cummer Museum of Arts and Gardens and the Museum of Contemporary Art, both in Jacksonville, Florida;  the DeLand Museum of Art, Deland, Florida; the Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, Florida; the School of the Arts in Palatka, Florida; the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia and Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona.

Jan has been involved with a range of outreach programs, emphasizing on art programs for children and teens.  Examples include programs for Girls Clubs, 4-H, summer camps, after-school programs and programs for incarcerated youth. Most summers, Master teaches for the Georgia Governors Program and she also received a HEAL grant to work with children with autism. Collaboration and education is an extension of her belief in Natural Philosophy- and she continues to seek out opportunities to be a positive contributor to society through nurturing creativity and relationships through art.