Joanna Strong’s constellation of paintings illuminate and explore the potency of objects as artifacts and repositories for stories.
Scattered over the walls, the small works evoke both microcosmic worlds and the macrocosm of the galaxy. The array of circular paintings swirl around the magnetic force of a large, planet-like painting, floating in the middle of the gallery. The variance in scale shifts the viewers’ own perception of size – from enormous to small and back again.
Like stars, the objects glow and fade. The planets and worlds mix the personal and the social, the female experience, and the human-made and non-human world. Paintings of rubber bands, flowers, paper boats, and fruit make references to physics and elemental particles, and become metaphors for the complexities of journeys. The objects’ colours, shapes, and textures give form to the intangible.
“I paint each subject with an intense awareness of the brevity of existence and this particular moment. The flowers and fruit are gone soon after I’ve painted them – this image may be the only trace of their existence; other solid objects – certain shells and pearl beads for example, have accompanied decades of my life, and I return to them as talismans” – Strong
In a world filled with wonder, this exhibition explores how we find patterns of meaning in the randomness of experience.
The AGB is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Image Credit: Joanna Strong, Constellation, Mixed media on paper, varied sizes 2-9”, 2021. Courtesy of the artist
Meet the artists
Toronto-based artist Joanna Strong explores materiality and meaning through painting wherein she creates conversations between what is represented and what it represents. Using found objects, she constructs and creates forms from combinations of materials, and paints objects as embodiments of ideas. Joanna has been exploring this painting project for many years, interweaving it with the complexity of personal experience. Strong holds a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax and an MFA from the University of Waterloo. Her work has appeared in over 100 exhibitions, both solo and group, and is in collections across Canada, the US, Britain, France, Germany, and Dubai. She is a three-time recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award and two Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council grants.