Jane Becker is a Sydney-based painter and sculptor. Jane was born in Sydney at the King George V Hospital, Camperdown in 1964, to German born Jewish parents, Peter Becker (b. 1927 Berlin), who was a highly successful businessman and Katherine Landecker (b.1935 Konigsburg, East Prussia), a medical practitioner.

Jane began drawing and cartooning as a teenager and after graduating from North Sydney Girls’ High School in 1981, she studied Bachelor of Arts majoring in Visual Art at the City Art Institute, part of the Sydney College of Advanced Education (later known as the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales) graduating in 1984. She continued her studies at the College of Fine Arts, graduating in Bachelor of Education (Art) in 1986 and then completing a Graduate Diploma in Painting and Drawing in 1991.

Her early work was characterised by an interest in small mixed media installation, in matchboxes, cigarboxes and small custom frames. An exhibition most indicative of her work of this period was her early solo exhibition in 1992 at the First Draft West Gallery, Annandale 'Land of the Giants’.

During the early 1990s Jane began working as a workshop artist at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. She worked on floats and scenic design for the Mardi Gras parade and parties. This period also saw her become more active in curating and promoting lesbian and queer art in Sydney. She was a member of steering and visual arts committees, curator, and exhibitor of the 'Word of Mouth’ II, III, IV, (1992- 1994) exhibitions and artist collective established by artist and community worker, Sue Reynolds, which was part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Art Festival. She was also a founding committee member (1996-1997) of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Art Gallery 'Raw Nerve’, Erskineville. In 1997, Jane became the Workshop and Design Manager of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and in 2001 became Art Director – a position she held for two years.

The decade working at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras had an impact on Jane’s work. Her work, which had been concerned with scale at the small level, now became large. Indicative of this transition is the work My Queer House , which was shown in its first iteration at the 1997 'Queer Crossing’ group exhibition at the Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Paddington curated by Craig Judd and Liz Ashburn. The original work was a small 30 × 20 × 25 cm installation. This work was later reconceived and remade on a much larger scale and exhibited in 2005 at 'Sculpture by the Sea’, Sydney where it was selected by Art Gallery of New South Wales director Edmund Capon for Art Gallery Society of New South Wales Prize. The first decade of new millennium saw Jane’s work continue in the direction of large public art, such as Future Totems (2007), commissioned by Art and About (City of Sydney Council) and exhibited at the forecourt of Customs House.

Dr Gillian Fuller
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