• The Color of Spirit

    Date posted: October 3, 2008 Author: jolanta
    Based in Victoria, Australia, self-taught artist Helen Joynson has shown her paintings around the world, including the European Outsider Art Fair earlier this year. Shifting between two approaches—complete abstraction and naïve figuration—her oeuvre is compelling in its diversity. Her painterly approach revolves around the uncovering the spirit of each color. She paints intuitively, instinctually coloring her canvases in bright palettes of brilliant hues. Inspired by the natural world, she infuses her works with a Zen-like spirit of harmony and balance. In fact, it is this kind of spirituality that motivates her work. According to Joynson, her work “acts as an interface between the physical and spiritual realms, and inspires healing and transformation of the soul.” Image

    Jill Smith

    Image
    Helen Joynson, Flowers of Healing, 2008. 30 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

    Based in Victoria, Australia, self-taught artist Helen Joynson has shown her paintings around the world, including the European Outsider Art Fair earlier this year. Shifting between two approaches—complete abstraction and naïve figuration—her oeuvre is compelling in its diversity. Her painterly approach revolves around the uncovering the spirit of each color. She paints intuitively, instinctually coloring her canvases in bright palettes of brilliant hues. Inspired by the natural world, she infuses her works with a Zen-like spirit of harmony and balance. In fact, it is this kind of spirituality that motivates her work. According to Joynson, her work “acts as an interface between the physical and spiritual realms, and inspires healing and transformation of the soul.” She even refers to a kind of energetic vibration that one may feel when absorbing one of her works face to face.

    One series in particular evokes a sense of vibrational fields of energy. Reminiscent of the intense patterning of aboriginal art, as well as some of the abstract designs in the paintings of British artist Chris Ofili, works such as The Lights of Christmas, The Lights of Odiona, and The Universe, depict all-over compositions of squiggling lines and sparkling dots. Like automatic drawing, these images resonate with a profound sense that the subconscious soul has been manifested in color and form.

    Another series portrays landscapes so simplified that they have been reduced to a mere horizon line, in effect rendering them totally abstract. In works such as Happy Planet, The Ice Age, and Sky of Odiona, the horizon line divides the images into two distinct fields, one composed of speckled pastel pointillist marks, while the other executed in subtly blended streaks of shimmering color. This minimalist reduction is effective in its simplification of form, which like Plato’s ideal forms, function not as reality, but as an archetype of the land and sky which reside deep in our collective unconscious, as well as a representation of our deep connection with the earth.

    Her final series confronts the image of the flower, a subject Joynson repeatedly revisits. In works such as Flowers of Healing, Colors of our Galaxy, and Look, we see naively-depicted flowers hovering atop fields of abstracted color. Bringing to mind the magical realism and passion for nature of Henri Rousseau, such images draw us into a surreal dream state of magical gardens and fantasy flowers. Joynson believes that the spirit is uplifted by the perfumes and colors of flowers, and as she wisely states, “Color to the spirit is as important as food to the physical body…the more color we absorb the healthier and stronger of both body and soul we are.” This could not be more true, and we have Joynson to thank for bringing the spirit of her visionary world into ours.

    www.helenjoynson.com.au

     

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