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 her 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.

Exhibitions and events


  • BEEP Painting Biennial, Swansea
  • Don’t Look Now, The Plough Arts Centre, Great Torrington, solo show


  • Snow Covers Ashes, 163 Gallery, London, solo show
  • Newtopia, Jupiter Gallery, Newlyn
  • Plymouth Contemporary 2021, KARST Gallery & Levinsky Gallery, University of Plymouth
  • Correspondence 01, Exeter Phoenix Gallery & Broadway Gallery, Letchworth
  • Figurative Art Now, online


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


  • 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
  • ‘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


  • Kris Day’s Paper Cuts, Saatchi Gallery, London
  • RWA Open, Bristol
  • Bloomberg New Contemporaries, selected by Katy Moran, Keith Piper and Benedict Drew, John Moores University, Liverpool
  • Exeter Phoenix, café gallery
  • Plymouth Art Weekender
  • The Art of Rivalry, solo show 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


  • PIY Paintlounge, Sluice Biennial
  • Plymouth Art Weekender
  • Rye Winter Salon, selected by Paula Macarthur and Victoria Howarth, Rye Creative Centre
  • Awesome Art Space, Exeter
  • Makers of the Multiverse with Juneau Projects/Spacex, Exeter
  • Random Art Machine, PS45 Gallery with Preston Street Union

Selected earlier exhibitions/projects

  • Residency at Porthmeor Studios, St Ives,  June 2016
  • With Preston Street Union, May 2016, Postcard exchange, library 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


  • 2018/19 a-n mentoring bursary with Rosalind Davis
  • 2018 Bloomberg New Contemporaries
  • 2018 Arty Magazine
  • 2017 Long-list Contemporary British Painting Prize
  • 2016 Porthmeor Studio, residency
  • 2016 Visual Arts South West mentoring programme (with PSU)
  • 2014 Devon Artist Network/Open Studio Emerging Artist Award
  • 2014 Gane Trust award


  • 2016-19 Turps Banana Correspondence Course
  • 2015 Newlyn School of Art, Mentoring Programme
  • 1991 BA Brighton College of Art

Alongside her painting practice Janet is a member of artist collective Preston Street Union.


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

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