Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Joyce Polance ~ Emotional Imagery

Joyce Polance, Once, oil on canvas, 30" x 24"

I spent some time—yesterday morning—in the studio of Chicago painter, Joyce Polance. I first met Polance roughly fifteen years ago, when I became the Exhibition Curator for the galleries of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. Polance entered one of her powerfully energetic cityscape paintings to our National Juried Exhibition—which, I believe was called the “Collection Exhibition.” The title referred to a challenge I was given to create a corporate fine art collection for the Institute. A juried show was the perfect way to explore the fine art currently being produced across the country as well as a way of generating funds to purchase work for the collection. Polance’s painting was included in the exhibition—and it received one of the purchase awards.

I contacted Polance a few years later, while I was opening Gallery H in Three Oaks, Michigan with Nancy Hoffman. Hoffman—a collector of mine—had experienced my work and curatorial skills via the galleries of The Illinois Institute of Art and the Fine Arts Building Gallery. She asked me to help her to find quality artists to represent in the Michigan gallery, and to produce the shows. Polance was one of the artists I selected for representation.

Joyce Polance, Spill, oil on canvas, 60" x 72".

I’ve watched Polance’s career evolve over the years—moving from cityscape to the figure; hyperrealism to her current work, which is powerfully expressionistic and emotional. The latter was the work I wanted to experience first hand.

Joyce Polance, After, oil on canvas, 30 x 24

Polance paints about emotion. Her most recent body of work explores the single female form amongst a flurry of movement. The paint seems to glide across the canvas—layer upon layer—building a surface of unexpected color and texture—the quality found on the surface of a clay sculpture. The texture often interrupts the figures with a play of positive/negative space. The imagery is beautifully poignant—defining not only the turbulent emotions of the creator but also the chaotic atmosphere of today’s world.

Joyce Polance, Fall, oil on canvas, 40" x 30"

The painting above, titled “Fall”, is a transitional piece created between a series of large hyper real canvases about the relationships of women and the most recent works exploring emotion. “Fall” is emotional but in an entirely different way. When Polance pulled this painting from a shelf in her studio, I was stunned. Rarely do I find myself holding back tears. But there I was… holding back tears—trying to listen to her words but hearing nothing. I looked at the painting and found myself looking into the face of anguish and understanding the subject's gut-wrenching, horrific pain. The canvas is a masterpiece.

I plan to be working again with Polance in the near future. Her work will result in a powerfully moving exhibition.

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