Jan Groover American, 1943-
Jan Groover is often included in discussions about the "new" color photographers of the early 1970s because of her preference and proficiency with emerging color technologies. Born in Plainfield, New Jersey, and educated at Pratt Institute (B.F.A., 1965) and Ohio State University (M.A., 1970), Groover began as an abstract painter and taught at the University of Hartford in the early 1970s. She soon turned to photography, first gaining recognition for the serial diptychs and triptychs of automobiles, highways, and city streets she made using the 35mm format and color film. In 1978 she began the still lives for which she is most recognized compositions of kitchen utensils, vegetables, and plants printed up close and larger than life. Although readings of Groover's work have been largely formalist, her images also reveal a witty understanding and appreciation of the history of photography. With a subtle humor, she makes reference to such celebrated 20th-century artists as Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, and Edward Weston.
In 1979 Groover began experimenting with platinum-palladium printing and, later, with a banquet camera to effect an elongated horizontal framing. Departing from her tabletop setups, these images are sociologically charged investigations of outdoor spaces such as backyards and fields-large-scale still-life arrangements haphazardly cluttered by lawn chairs, barbecues, and children's toys.
Among Groover's awards are two grants from the New York State Council on the Arts (1975, 1978) and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1978) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1979). Jan Groover, her first monograph, was published in 1976. She has had many one-person exhibitions, including a mid-career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1987), with accompanying catalogue. Other publications include Pure Invention: The Tabletop Still Life (1990) and Jan Groover: Photographs, with introductory text by John Szarkowski (1993).
Groover taught at the State University of New York College at Purchase before moving from her New York City base to her current residence in Montpon-Menesterol, France, where she lives with her husband, Bruce Boice. A.W.