It's been a real pleasure to work with Joy Engelman in preparation of her upcoming exhibition "Flow". We asked her a few quick questions while she was in the space bumping in the show this week, and here's what she had to tell us:
Hi Joy, please tell us a little about how you started this new body of work.
Over recent years I have been out in the desert a few times each year and have been inspired by the way the deep red ironstone rocks have left huge watercolour washes over the white kaolin sands as they erode. As I’ve sat and watched and looked and pondered, I have been struck that these markings can be seen as a metaphor for our lives for in a similar way, our characters are also shaped by time and the washing out of emotions, often with tears, as the hardness of obstacles and difficulties are eroded away with each day. It was this metaphor that I wanted to explore in paint and paper to see if I could evoke images that spoke of this. Hence these images.
What do you think was the most interesting discovery during the creative process of "Flow"?
My own life is getting towards the pointy end now with each passing year and although this brings it’s own daily difficulties, the slowing of the body also brings with it time to think about life itself and what it might mean. While I painted away quietly in the studio finding meaning within each image, deciding what colours and mediums to use, what accidental marks to leave and which to enhance, I felt a quietness and acceptance slowly happening within myself. I became more comfortable and accepting of myself and my own past obstacles and erosions of the soul.
Can you tell us about your work space?
I rent a small studio within the Barracks along with several other artists, a space that means I can leave a work and materials just laying about until I feel the need to return and work again. It is a luxury I haven’t had for a very long time, a space I have longed for. The studio is quiet most days as artists may come and go within the building but we allow each other peace and quiet to do our work. It is wonderful to be able to know that others are like-minded and respectful. It’s a little factory with all the makings of art, paints, papers, canvases, brushes,cutters, special effects, all the detritus of an art’s life lying in wait to be sorted, loved, painted on. Every artist needs a space!
Do you admire any contemporary artists working today?
I prefer experimental artists who work in new media and tend to lean towards artists from overseas like Gerda Lipski from Austria and Stan Kurth from Arizona. At the biennale I made friends with some amazing artists who I keep in touch with, Charlotte Lugt from Holland, Tito di Pippo, a Puerto Rican now living in Miami and Suly B Wolf, a Brazilian artist now living in Israel. There were many others at that event who changed the way I see image making. The digital world we live in has brought us all closer than ever and inspiration is so readily available from everywhere now that for me, I feel it is time to explore, reach out, extend ourselves from the confines of Australia. The world of art is so large, so expansive, so full of wonder that it is bursting….. it is amazing!
What's the future hold now that you’ve finished creating "Flow"?
These next few years, I will be very busy finding venues to exhibit the Wild Women of Arkaroola PLUS, my group of desert artists so not sure where my own art will take me personally. I am sure the studio will wait patiently for me to feel the desire to put brush to paper and explore new ideas…. I’m always open to a new adventure either in life or in art so…. hey! That’s it!
Thanks Joy! We hope to see you all at the opening of this great show, this Friday (13th Jan 2017) at 6PM, 187 Lords Place.