Jean Foss

Jean Foss

The house Jean Foss grew up in was filled with color and design—Persian rugs on the floors, intricately patterned tiles in the bathrooms, paintings on the walls, the carved furniture dressed in embroidered table clothes, and woven runners, footstools with needlepoint designs, chairs adorned with colorful handmade pillars. Her parents both came from immigrant families – from Holland and Norway, and much of the design and color came from things that had been in the family for many years.

Everywhere Jean traveled with her family; her parents exposed her (and her two siblings) to art and architecture. Jean’s mother, herself an artist and scholar of art history, narrated the details of all that the family saw, often staying up late on the nights before giving a family tour, to read about and refresh her memory about the site. Throughout Jean’s upbringing, the Fosses took their children to many museums and art galleries in Europe and the United States. As a child, she was particularly taken by Russian folk paintings and by primitives of all kinds. Later, as an adult, she became fascinated with Latin American folk art, which contains similar elements.

In her artist bio, Jean writes, “Mexico is a country charged with color and sound, both in its natural world and its culture. From my first trip to Mexico, in 1997, I was drawn to the vibrancy and spirit of the people and to the colorful culture here.”

In 2001, she completed a B.S. in fine arts, at the University of Oregon, after which she started looking into MFA programs in Mexico, as an excuse to follow her dream of returning to Mexico, after falling in love with it on her first trip. Her advisor suggested that since she didn’t want to teach, it would make more sense to skip the MFA program and just to move to Mexico to paint. Jean asked many friends and acquaintances who were familiar with Mexico, where a good place to live and paint would be, and they unanimously recommended Oaxaca. She moved here in July of 2001.

Before studying art at U of O, Jean studied art and creative writing at the University of Iowa (in Iowa City). After moving to Oaxaca, she took a print-making class from el Maestro Shinshaburo Takeda (a professor at the School of Art at UABJO, The University of Benito Juarez, Oaxaca) at Bellas Artes, in Oaxaca.

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From the start, she felt at home in this culture of strong ties to family, akin to the culture with which she grew up. In fact, Jean felt so at home upon moving here, that she said she “felt like she had been born in the wrong country.” She was also immediately taken with the layering of ancient and modern traditions in everyday life and the blending and clashing of pre-Columbian and post-conquistador elements of the culture. All of these things became the central themes of her work, which Jean refers to as “Stylized Realism.” She paints with acrylics, either on wood or on locally hand-made paper.

Some of Jean's finds while walking the hills of Oaxaca

Some of Jean’s finds while walking the hills of Oaxaca

When asked to talk a little about her technique, she began by talking about her early experiences, here in Oaxaca. “As soon as I arrived, I began exploring the valley of Oaxaca on foot, walking or taking public transportation out to small towns and the surrounding foothills. While soaking up all the visual beauty and ambience of my new home, I began to find prehispanic art– mainly broken clay pots with designs carved into them– but also quite a few clay heads– animals, humans, deities. Oaxaca is such a magical place–and I wanted to try to incorporate some of that into my work.”

“I started off by painting some of the clay heads, but with modern bodies and personalities attached to them. From there, I went on to paint people in scenes from the villages I passed through, with very faceted — almost mask-like faces, influenced by painting the prehispanic heads. I’ve always used a wide pallet of bright colors–often associated with Latin American art– even before moving here and painting Mexico. I also have always liked to experiment with styles, all of which are grounded in strong black outlines. I like to paint from a mix of photos, my memories, and my imagination. My work varies from quite realistic to cartoon-like.

From 1997 to 2000, I worked with potter/painter, John Fleenor, painting pottery with a whole world of weird cartoons. Recently, a number of collectors of that work (sold as Beast Ware, by Flying Hippo Pottery), have suggested I do paintings in my old cartoon style. I’ve recently started playing around with something akin to cartooning again, in a series of work which is largely about gastronomical traditions here. I’ll include some of that new work in my up-coming show in June.”

In her artist statement, Jean writes, “Here in my adopted country, surrounded by color and light, I try to capture the vibrancy of the land and the vitality of its ancient culture, which bring me daily happiness.”
She describes herself as being a slow and meditative person, by nature, and, by the same token, not a fast painter “I’d say I’m a painstakingly slow perfectionist,” she elaborated. She says that she was therefore very happy to learn about Giclée prints (pronounced zhee-clay) a relatively new process for art reproduction, which allows her to offer beautiful and accurate reproductions of her work at accessible prices. Jean stressed that the quality of Giclée printers varies greatly, but that the small art press she uses (Sterling Graphics in Springfield, Oregon) makes extremely accurate archival-quality reproductions, almost indistinguishable from originals.

Jean says, “I hope, through my paintings, I can convey some of the beauty and flavor of Mexico to other parts of the world. I also hope that, locally, my work reflects the beauty in everyday life here, elements of which are often overlooked, as people strive to replace traditions with more modern conveniences or styles. I greatly appreciate all of the encouragement and feedback I have been given, both here in Oaxaca and in the U.S.”

Up until about a year ago, Jean was concentrating most of her shows in Oregon, but decided she would be better off trying to take advantage of being in a large tourist town, which directly relates to the theme of her work. She had a solo show at El Museo del Palacio (The Museum of the Palace of the Governor), from July to October of 2012, and will have another solo show in June, at Hotel CasAntica, in Oaxaca’s historic Center. She will also have another solo show in the fall, in a relatively new gallery in la Colonia Reforma of this city, called Atelier et Galérie D’Audiffred (owned by long-time Mexico City resident/artist Fernando Audiffred).

Jean’s studio is in the rural village of San Andres Huayapam, where she lives with her husband Chucho and daughter Xochitl. Chucho makes all of Jean’s frames and is an artist himself, specializing in paper mache sculptures and wood-cutting. Jean’s art can be seen on her website at
For more information, or to arrange a studio visit, you can contact Jean Foss at and follow her on Facebook: Jean Foss’s Facebook page.

Jean Foss--Photo by Alan Goodin

William White Gallery, Eugene, Oregon (solo show)
Mayor’s Art Show (juried), Eugene, Oregon
Mayor’s Art Show, Springfield, Oregon
Opus 5, Eugene, Oregon (solo show)
Centro Latino Americano, Eugene, OR
Oregon Census Bureau, Eugene, Oregon
Island Park Art Gallery, Willamalane Recreational Center, Springfield, Oregon (invitational, with one other artist)
Espresso Roma, Eugene, Oregon (solo show)
Café Soriah, Eugene, Oregon (solo show)
Springfield Library Invitational, Springfield, Oregon
Emerald Art Center Art Gallery, Springfield, Oregon
Mills Gallery, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon (invitational)
Museo De Ferrocarril, Immigrant Day’s Invitational, Oaxaca
Las Truchas Gallery, Eureka California
Galeria de Design y Diseño, Oaxaca
Nueva Babel, Oaxaca (solo show)
Taller Rufino Tamayo, Oaxaca
Galeria La Zancada, Oaxaca
Hotel Camino Real, Oaxaca
Museo Del Palacio Oaxaca (solo show 2012, collective exhibit 2013)


Hotel Casantica, Av. Morelos, 601, Historic Center, Oaxaca (Solo show opening June 22nd, 2013)
Atelier et Galérie D’Audiffred Emilio Carranza #123 Col. Reforma, 68050 Oaxaca, Oaxaca
(Opening date not yet set, but planned for fall 2013)



James “Jim” Wyly (15 Nov 37) was born in Kansas City, Missouri. As a child, even at the ages of 2 and 3 he could draw recognizable people and buildings. He was encouraged by his great uncle, a professional painter, but his parents’ priority was music, especially the keyboard, as they had a piano in their home. By the age of 5 Jim was able to play classical music. He always had teachers for music theory and composition.

At the age of 17 Jim enrolled in Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he received his BA in English literature. He attended graduate school at the Conservatory of Music of the University of Missouri where he received his Doctorate in Music. His dissertation, on 18th century Spanish organ construction, was written in Madrid, Spain with the aid of a Fulbright grant, and was finished in 1964. Jim worked for 4 years at Elmhurst College, in Illinois, and 8 years at Grinnell College, in Iowa, as a Professor of Music.

In the 1970’s Jim became interested in the psychology of Carl Jung. Life in rural Iowa was beginning to feel rather limiting so in 1976 Jim and his wife, Mary moved to Chicago where he went back to school and received a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 1981, after which he got a certificate in Jungian Psycho-Analysis. In Chicago he set up a private practice which he maintained until 2003 when he and Mary retired and moved to Oaxaca.

In Chicago Jim’s wife, also a musician, worked as the Associate Librarian at the Newberry Library of Chicago. Mary has been very supportive of Jim’s art.

When they first moved to Oaxaca they rented a 300-year old home owned by the Rodolfo Morales Foundation. They loved the house but found that it didn’t suit all their needs so, with the help of Oaxacan friends, they were lucky enough to find property in the Centro Histórico; and with their architect friend, Guillermo de la Cajiga, uMG_1691they designed and over the next two years built and finished (2008) their dream home, where they currently live. Here, Jim has all the space he needs to play his music and paint as well as does Mary, with her great kitchen and well stocked library. In Jim and Mary’s spacious and modern front room they have Jim’s clavichord and harpsichord and Mary’s piano.

With the move to Oaxaca Jim was at last able to return to his childhood passion and paint full time. Jim studied painting in Chicago with the artist and restorer Helen Oh, who taught him historical techniques from the 17th and 18th centuries. In addition to her, among artists whose styles influenced Jim’s are 17th century masters such as Rembrandt, Velázquez, Caravaggio, and Vermeer, as well as twentieth century painters, such as Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, Balthus, Paul Delvaux and many others. Jim describes his art as “somewhere on the line between surrealism and realism.”

Jim has had four art exhibitions in Oaxaca, the most recent (2010) at Casa Oaxaca by Galería Quetzalli.

For more information on James Wyly as well as viewing his gallery site, visit Jim’s website at You may contact Jim at

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Lorena Montes, a Oaxacan artist, was born in Oaxaca (13 de junio de 1980). She begin serious painting in 2000 and has since had many exhibition. While she has many favorite artist, in Mexico, Tamayo tops her list, internationally, Egon Schile. She studied art at Taller de Artes Plasticas Rufino Tamayo.

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See Lorena’s work on YouTube  with Lila Downs singing at:

Also view her works at: with the voice of Nayeli Nesme.

Oaxaca, corazón, Lorena Montes (See Lorena’s Obras at: <>.

Lorena Montes se busca en Oaxaca, su ciudad, con tesón. Y lo hace a través de las artes: el dibujo, la pintura, el grabado y la mixtura de técnicas. Porque, pese a sus escasos 30 años, es una maestra en tierra de maestros, Oaxaca, la ciudad de los artistas en México.

Cuando la conocí en Barcelona (2004), ella estaba aprendiendo a grabar con Juan Alcázar. Viajaban juntos. El maestro grabador me telefoneó y nos reunimos los tres para compartir un tradicional esmorzar de forquilla en la Fonda Europa de Granollers. Así la conocí. Les había dado mis señas Francisco Toledo, el mítico artista y agitador cultural oaxaqueño, a quien yo había tratado fascinado en mi entonces reciente primer viaje a México (2003), tras tener noticia de él por dos exposiciones colectivas europeas previas, Col·lecció Jean Planque: la novel·la d’un col·leccionista (Barcelona: Museu Picasso, 2002) y Oaxaca, Tierra de Arte: uno sguardo sull’arte contemporanea messicana (Torino: Palazzo Bricherasio, 2003). En la primera, Francisco Toledo era el artista más joven de la colección internacional; en la segunda, la gran figura viviente de una brillante muestra local, en compañía de Rodolfo Morales, Rufino Tamayo, Sergio Hernández, Luis Zárate, Demián Flores, Guillermo Olguín, Maximino Javier, Filemón Santiago, Rubén Leyva, Alejandro Santiago y José Villalobos. Al visitar el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, amplié la nómina con Francisco Gutiérrez, Rodolfo Nieto… Oaxaca es, en verdad, Tierra de Arte. El verano pasado volví a la ciudad para dar charlas y lecturas. En esta ocasión conocí personalmente a la poeta zapoteca Irma Pineda, al maestro ceramista Claudio Jerónimo, al maestro escultor Víctor Orozco… y volví a ver en su medio a la joven Lorena Montes, ahora con un taller propio que visité gustoso. De este enjambre artístico oaxaqueño, caracterizado por un peculiar sentido onírico de lo real, proviene la paciente y valiosa labor de nuestra maestra buscándose, escudriñándose con la mano que pinta, dibuja, graba… convertida en instrumento de mirada. Certera y metódica, interior y exterior, late. Oaxaca, corazón, Lorena Montes.

El autorretrato deliberado y metódico es un género moderno, de gran eclosión contemporánea, cuyos primeros eslabones relevantes nos remontan a Durero, Rembrandt y Goya, y cuyo desarrollo pasa, en coexistencia con la fotografía, por Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Toledo… hasta nuestro siglo XXI. En literatura, las escrituras del Yo, hoy tan en auge, nos remontan a Montaigne (Les Essais) y Rousseau (Les Confessions). Podría decirse, en este sentido, que Montes practica un arte del Yo, lo que en las letras más recientes consideraríamos como autoficción, ese terreno borroso en el que la realidad se rebasa a sí misma sin renunciar a ser real. Un terreno en el que Proust se anticipó con brillantez. Helo pues: aquí, así, nos late el arte de Lorena Montes. Y digo que nos late porque se rebasa a sí misma y, explorándose, nos explora; y acabamos, cada uno, latiendo con su corazón en Oaxaca. Porque descubriéndose ella nos descubre.

Ramon Dachs

Oaxaca, corazón, Lorena Montes.

En:  aDa Art Gallery (Barcelona) del 8 al 20 de abril.


13 de Junio de 1980 Oaxaca, México.


2011.- Oaxaca, corazón. Lorena Montes Galeria Ada. Barcelona España
Lorena Montes. Obra gráfica Café-bar-lounge Ebano, Barcelona
2010.- Introspección Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México.
2008.-Cuarto Creciente, Taller de Artes Plasticas Rufino Tamayo, Oaxaca.
2007.-Acuarelas,en el del festival “Humanitas” Restaurant Ma Bonita,Oax
2005.-Tejiendo Miradas, Restaurante Galería La Olla, Oaxaca.
Espejismos, Galería Axis, Oaxaca.
2004.- Mirada Intima, Restaurante Galería La Olla, Oaxaca.
2003.- Entre Mares Desiertos, Restaurante Galería La Olla, Oaxaca.
2002.- Origen Galería Tiburcio Ortiz, Oaxaca


Expo Aniversario Galería aDa Barcelona España
Expo Yo pinto en el Taller de Artes Plásticas Rufino Tamayo. Oaxaca.
Expo Colectiva Galería La Colección Puebla, Puebla
Neblina Morada Paraninfo de la Facultad de Derecho UABJO. Oaxaca
Variaciones de Oaxaca, Sede de la Unesco, Barcelona España.
Sobreviviendo, Manéjese con cuidado. (Carpeta Grafica) Museo de los Pintores oaxaqueños y Galería Casa Lamm, Mexico DF
Tercera generación del Taller de Artes Plásticas Rufino Tamayo, Museo de los Pintores oaxaqueños.
Presente y pasado en la Plástica Oaxaqueña, Casa de la Cultura Oaxaqueña.
Matices de Oaxaca Exconvento del Templo de Sta Maria de la Asunción, Tlaxiaco,Oax.
Exposición de Grafica del Taller Rufino Tamayo Oaxaca. Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de Mexico.
Nueva Plástica Oaxaqueña, en el Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños.
Museo Conner de la Universidad de Texas A&M Kingsville Texas.
Homenaje a Diego Rivera, Museo Anahuacalli, México DF.
Una Noche de Arte Oaxaqueño, En el Museo del Risco, Ciudad de México.
Orquídeas de Oaxaca, en el Museo de la Filatelia, Oaxaca Oax.
Oaxaca en España, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria Pozuelo de Alarcón Madrid, España.
Cuicapiques y Tlacuilos, Centro Cultural Casa Lamm. México.
Titeregrafías Coordinación de Relaciones públicas y comunicación del Estado, Tlaxcala Tlax.
Edición Limitada, Galería del Centro Cultural de Chiapas Jaime Sabines.
Acuarelas en el centro Mexicano de la Tortuga, el Mazunte Oaxaca.
2002 Mujeres, colores y Texturas, Exposición de mujeres creadoras en la casa de la mujer Rosario Castellanos.
Muestra de Artes Plásticas del XXVII Festival de invierno en el Museo de Arte Assis Chateaubriand de la universidad Estatal de Paraiba Campina Grande Brasil.
Exposición colectiva en la Galería de la Fundación Politécnico AC. México..
Exposición de grafica, Instituto de Investigaciones estéticas de Veracruz.
Subasta de Arte Bienal de pintura y grabado Paul Gauguin en la Casa Guerrerense en el DF.
Exposición de becarios, Galería Tonalli SEDESOL, México DF.
Graphsodia en la Pinacoteca de la Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero.
¿Corazón porque no amas? Galería Rodolfo Morales del centro Cultural Ricardo Flores Magón. Oaxaca oax.

• Acervo Artístico de la Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
• Museo nacional de Arte de Bolivia
• Museo de la Nacion, Perú
• Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporaneo de Costa Rica
• Museo de Arte Contemporaneo del Ecuador.
• Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de la Universidad de Chile.
• Museo de Arte Assis Chateaubriand de la Universidad Estadual de Paraiba Campina Grande, Brasil.
• Universidad Tecnológica de la Mixteca, Huajuapan de León, Oaxaca

Ramon Dachs
(Ramon Dachs is librarian of Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, the city where he was born in 1959.)

More of Lorena’s work can be seen on her website at: