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12 Questions: Joan Moriarty

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Bio and Artist’s Statement:

My artistic identity began as a child, with my father who was a serious amateur photographer. Together we would walk the woods looking for subject matter and later watch those captured images emerge magically from the developer solution in the darkroom. We would discuss the merits of the photos, both with an eye to what it communicated as well as its technical proficiency. Often he would give me books on artists he enjoyed. In my early 20s I backpacked for 10 months in Europe and would periodically send back photo slides which he would critique. Those early experiences educated my eye, heart and mind.

While attending the University of Michigan I studied art history and archeology which gave me an appreciation of historical context and cultural references and how they affect artwork. A number of professors and artists were formative in my development, Rudolph Arnheim, Diane Kirkpatrick, Clifton Olds, and Grace Cole.

The medium of cold wax is an excellent vehicle for exploring a painting’s history. I start with line and drawing, and then put layer, after layer of paint, scraping to reveal previous paintings. This process allows for depth, memory and mystery to be explored. My work embraces the intuitive and subconscious and this method of painting has been a very satisfying method for that approach.

The themes of my work involve Nature, the seasons and concerns of contemporary society but filtered through my subconscious. I don’t begin with a message but as it arises and I explore it. For example, Kolyna I is strongly affected by the war in Ukraine. Spark, Smolder, Smoke, by climate change.