itaeng Jean Tori Design

1975: Seoul, Korea, Art Gallery, Chosun Hotel.
1977: Hong Kong, Kenneth Ko Studio.
1979: Hong Kong, Art Room Gallery.
1985: Tokyo, Japan, ‘Fantasy on Paper’, Genkan Gallery, Tokyo American Club.
1993: Hong Kong, ‘Fantasy More Fantasy’, Mandarin Oriental Fine Arts Gallery.
1994: Hong Kong, American Town Club Art Gallery.
1999: Perugia, Italy, ‘In Umbria. A Journey of Colour Returning from the Orient’, Santa Giuliana.
2003: Rome, Italy, ‘Living In Colour’, Art Hotel, Via Margutta.
2005: Hong Kong, ‘Animal Miniatures’, Sandra Walters Gallery.
2006: Rome, Italy, ‘Horoscopes and Teapots’, Green Tea, Pantheon.
2008: Sansepolcro, Italy, ‘Dragons, Monkeys and Pomegranate Trees: Stories of Coloured Images’, Galleria La Loggia.
2009: Bologna, Italy, ‘Colours and Details', Bertolini & Prodi Architects

1977: Hong Kong, ‘Art, The Visual Experience’, Pearl City Art Exhibition.
1978: Hong Kong, ‘Miniatures’, Petra Hintethur Studio.
1978: Hong Kong, ‘Society for the Protection of Children Exhibition’, City Hall.
1979: Hong Kong, ‘China Coast Community Exhibition’, City Hall.
1992: Hong Kong, ‘Animals’, Mandarin Oriental Fine Arts Gallery.
1995: Hong Kong, ‘Marvellous Miniatures’, Mandarin Oriental Fine Arts Gallery.
2003: Massachusetts, USA, ‘Miniatures’, Maureen Carven Artisan’s Studio.
2013: Citerna, Italy, "Teacups, Teapots and landscapes", Galerry Atelier Il Camino.
A wartime baby, born in 1940, Jean developed her imagination and love of colour in her family’s typical English country garden, where her father grew prize-winning roses and dahlias. Growing up in the old seaside naval city of Portsmouth, her ambitions led her to study at the Portsmouth College of Art, where she studied a course in Display, Publicity and Design, which encompassed colour theory, fabric design, photography, typography, calligraphy and commercial design. It also covered window display strategies which took into account the psychological impact of colour display and shapes on the public.

Jean went to Italy in 1959 and discovered an entirely different culture, meeting Ugo Tori, who was to become her husband. “Just being in Italy, surrounded by incredible art forms - each doorway opening onto another magical courtyard - gave me a different perception and another jolt to my imagination,” said Jean. “However, I realized I should get my feet back onto solid ground and the discipline of work and study. I returned to England and worked at window display during the day and taught colour theory at the college night school.” The rest of the time was spent sketching, sailing and travelling to Italy to visit Ugo. They were eventually married and establishing a home in Milan where Jean continued sketching. With her well-developed sense of colour, it was inevitable that she turn to more painting.

In 1971 the Tori family moved to South Korea. For the first time, Jean came face-to-face with Asia and was intrigued with the humour, style and colour of Korean Folk Art, which still plays a large part in the approach to her work. Another Korean skill has made a lasting impression on Jean Tori’s work. As she said, “I discovered the textures of Korean handmade paper, which I still use for most of my paintings. On a research trip into the countryside I met a paper maker, with whom I established an interesting rapport and drew on his unending knowledge of his craft. I learned to make Korean screens, but took my acquired skill one step further. Instead of painting on paper and then applying the results onto the screen, I built up layers of paper on the screen, until the layers became as strong as canvas. I then painted directly onto the screen. This was to the delighted approval of the paper master, who said my ‘paper canvases’ would last a thousand years!”

Jean never strayed far from her love of architectural design and Korea offered a totally new concept in form and line, Korean temples being the most outstanding example. The result of this fascination was her first one-woman show in Seoul in 1975. She has since travelled extensively throughout Asia, absorbing its influences and collecting visions.

The Toris made the move to Hong Kong in 1976. The first exhibition Jean staged in Hong Kong was due to the encouragement of a leading Chinese architect, Kenneth Ko. After the success of her one-woman show, Jean participated in various group exhibitions. Jean’s personal exhibitions in Tokyo in 1985 and then in Hong Kong in 1993 were both greeted with much enthusiasm.

In 1996, before the ‘Hong Kong Changeover’, Jean Tori returned to Italy, to live in Umbria, where she continued to paint, often on handmade paper panels prepared in her art studio. Many of Jean’s paintings are still very detailed compositions, but there has been a shift towards minimalist works with just five or six colours and miniatures with fluid images. The minimalist miniatures have also begun to change dimension into giant displays of colour and style. Jean Tori still includes Asian symbolism and design in her paintings, but she has also been greatly stimulated by her Italian surroundings – the Umbrian landscapes which continually change during the arc of a day and throughout the seasons.

In 1991 Jean held her first exhibition in Italy in the medieval cloister of Santa Giuliana in Perugia. After exhibiting in Rome in 2003 and 2006, she presented her artwork in Sansepolcro in Tuscany in 2008, and then in Bologna in 2009. Through her multicultural themes and intensity of colour and shape, Jean Tori transmits her imaginative and humorous vision of the world, continuing to 'paint colour'.

Jean Tori lives and paints in Umbria and has a design company Jean Tori Design.

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