Exhibitions and events


  • Plymouth Contemporary 2021 (dates tbc)
  • 163 Gallery, London, solo show (dates tbc)


  • ‘Ing Discerning Eye, invited by Jo Baring, online
  • Anyone May Come and Go’, RAMM commission with Preston Street Union, Exeter


  • Ingram Collection Purchase Prize exhibition, The Cello Factory, London
  • Creekside Open 2019 selected by Sacha Craddock, APT Gallery, London
  • Serge/Surge, RAMM commission with Preston Street Union, Exeter
  • ‘Looking at You’ with Gedney Common, London
  • Summer Will Have its Flies, curated by Natalia Gonzalez, Subsidiary Projects, London
  • Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018, South London Gallery, London
  • Christmas Show, Gallery 98, Ramsgate


  • Paper Cuts, selected by Kris Day, Saatchi Gallery, London
  • RWA Open, Bristol, 6 October
  • Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018, selected by Katy Moran, Keith Piper and Benedict Drew, John Moores University, Liverpool
  • Exeter Phoenix, café gallery
  • Plymouth Art Weekender
  • The Art of Rivalry, curated by Simon Lee Dicker and Bob Gelsthorpe, Od Arts Festival, Somerset
  • Galleries R Us with Preston Street Union, Exeter
  • Pop, Oxfam Music shop, Exeter


  • Awesome art space, Exeter, Christmas exhibition
  • Rye Winter Salon, selected by Paula Macarthur and Victoria Howarth, Rye Creative Centre
  • PIY Paintlounge, Sluice Biennial
  • Plymouth Art Weekender, Plymouth School of Creative Arts
  • Turps Banana Correspondence Course
  • Makers of the Multiverse – Juneau Projects/Spacex
  • Random Art Machine @PS45 Gallery with PSU
  • Art Auction, Thelma Hulbert Gallery

Earlier exhibitions and projects

  • Residency at Porthmeor Studios, St Ives,  June 2016
  • With Preston Street Union, May 2016, Postcard exchange, bookmark performance
  • Group show at Exeter Library, Absence and Presence, prints, March 2016
  • Group show of work at Chapel House, Penzance, January 2016
  • Collider, group show, PZ Gallery, Penzance – December 2015
  • Member of Preston Street Union
  • Second Prize, Open Drawing exhibition, Plough Arts Centre, Torrington, 2015
  • Commissioned to design 3 railway posters as part of Exmouth Festival, partners include: Arts Council England and First Great Western, 2015
  • Group show at Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton, 2014
  • Group show at Gloss Gallery, Exeter, 2014

Awards, Courses, Education

  • 2018/19 a-n mentoring bursary with Rosalind Davis
  • 2018 Bloomberg New Contemporaries
  • 2016/19 Turps Banana Correspondence Course
  • 2017 Long-list Contemporary British Painting Prize
  • 2016 Porthmeor Studio, residency
  • 2016 Visual Arts South West mentoring programme (with PSU)
  • 2015 Newlyn School of Art, Mentoring Programme
  • 2014 Devon Artist Network/Open Studio Emerging Artist Award
  • 2014 Gane Trust award
  • 1991 Graduated Brighton College of Art


Janet graduated with a degree in Illustration from Brighton Art College in 1991. Subsequently she has studied at Newlyn School of Art (2015) and on the Turps Banana Correspondence course (2016-19). She was awarded a residency at Porthmeor Studios, St Ives (2016) and recieved an a-n mentoring bursary with Rosalind Davis (2018). Recent group exhibitions include: Bloomberg New Contemporaries (2018), selected by Keith Piper, Katy Moran, Benedict Drew, showing at Liverpool’s John Moores University and the South London Gallery; Summer Will Have its Flies’, Subsidiary Projects, London (2019) curated by Natalia Gonzalez; ‘Looking at You’ curated by Ross Head, Gedney Common Collective, London (2019); Creekside Open selected by Sacha Craddock (2019); Ingram Collection Purchase Prize (2019). Earlier exhibitions include: Exeter Phoenix (2018); Od Arts Festival (2018); Oxfam Music Shop (2018); RWA Open (2018); Papercuts curated by Kris Day, Saatchi Gallery (2018); Gallery 98, Ramsgate (2018); Rye Winter Salon selected by Paula Macarthur and Victoria Howarth (2017).

Alongside her painting practice Janet is a member of artist collective Preston Street Union, who were commissioned by RAMM to create two new artworks in 2019.


Janet paints imagined situations populated by a cast of characters drawn from art history and popular culture. Turning the spotlight on an eclectic range of artists, writers, smokers and pop stars they become the subjects. She aims to use portraiture as a means to understand and challenge the status quo, creating alternative stories that dig beneath the surface of the familiar.

Janet develops ideas through making small pencil sketches or colour studies on paper before working on canvas. As the painting develops she is inspired by the books and images around her in the studio; artist postcards, cuttings from newspapers and photographs taken from online.

A recent body of work ‘Bathers’ has its starting point in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. Janet is fascinated by the mythologies surrounding artist groups. In an attempt to unpick accepted narratives Janet uses humour and poses questions in a playful manner. She paints groups of artists bathing – Manet, Renoir, Degas – focussing on their imagined interactions and personalities. They stand still in the water, looking ill at ease.

In the Sphinx series of paintings Janet examines the brothel genre. She records the frequent visits of Samuel Beckett and Alberto Giacometti to a brothel.  In her paintings they become the subject rather than the prostitutes.


‘Janet Sainsbury spies on the indulgences and encounters between these great modernist thinkers, and surveys their proximity, their insecurities and their virile competition. Loose marks over the canvases give the imagined narrative room to unfold and make space for limbs to flail.’ (Bob Gelsthorpe, Od Arts Festival, 2018)

‘Giving the canvas over to these figures…(Janet) foregrounds the importance of the body as a tool with which to explore complex issues employing abstract forms and colour to create charged and engaging group studies.’ (Charlotte Flint, Gedney Common exhibition, Looking at You, 2019)


Artlyst – Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018, South London Gallery,  please click here

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