Offramp Gallery = 1702 Lincoln Avenue = Pasadena, CA 91103 = 626.298.6931
Power Women Issue: Jane Chafin
Pasadena Magazine May 2011
Jane Chafin's Offramp Gallery, a contemporary art gallery situated in a residential area, is definitely what you'd describe as off the beaten path. The historic building, part of which was once a ballet studio, also doubles as her home, and the name of the gallery now takes its name from its location, just off the 210 Freeway. Chafin's role and mission in offering a bit of modern culture to Pasadena through the artists she chooses is nothing if not the result of an undpredictable journey. She also has a regular art blog on The Huffington Post.
Long before Chafin's gallery was even a glimmer of a thought, let alone in existence, Chafin was brought up quietly in West Virginia. "There was one art book in our house, I think it was a huge influence on me," says Chafin. "It was called Modern Prints and Drawings." She fell in love with art at first sight but too scared to pursue it and fail, Chafin found herself drawn to the library at her college, Ohio Wesleyan, where she'd sit in the aisles flipping through art books. Urged by a good friend to take a drawing class, she eventually did and found she excelled and decided to pursue painting seriously. But her path was interrupted and she considers it with a slight glimmer in her eyes. "I dropped out of college my junior year. It was the sixties, you know. Majoring in marijuana and guitar. Then I was in a rock band. But what I really wanted to do was be an artist. For quite a few years I did what you have to do, which is push everything else away. It's a very isolating, lonely life. Just you and the blank page, or you and the blank canvas."
Chafin's paintings were influenced, collectively, by Jungian philosophy and the sixties (she says they were mostly surrealistic psycho dramas), and she was inspired, especially as a woman, by Frida Kahlo, especially in the early '80's. "After I read her biography, I (explored) her work as a woman. As an emotional person, I understood that work. She painted about her interior life, she was physically injured, emotionally injured and she just painted it. It's different than the formal exercises men had always done. We're different creatures, men and women. We're wired differently. I think women's expression had been suppressed for years. It was just the way culture and society was. Women were having babies and raising the family, and men were doing all the 'important' work, and of course that's changed in the last century, thank god. I think that's why women love her so much."
--- Romina Rosenow