Joyce Zavorskas

The natural world has always been a sanctuary for me, a place to breathe wind and think and feel, undistracted at last. Random visual quirks and oddities arranged by natural forces document fragments of time and suggest aspects of our contemporary culture and circumstances, under siege from wars, recession, climate changes, and indifference to the fragility of our environment. After a storm, the wind ravaged ocean cliffs look like a battlefield, strewn with uprooted debris. The activity of erosion presents images of natural disorder, an inevitable entropy, as well as renewal and redemption.

My new paintings and monotypes investigate the possibilities of arranging earth’s colors and forms in an enclosed composition, recording aspects and oddities of erosion, and fixing in time the face of the beloved before its demise. As a young child the dunes were a place to play, immutable and iconic monuments. I thought they would be there forever. Now they are disappearing, like elderly parents, leaving behind only memories of what once was there. And yet the places where ocean encounters sand have a quiet dignity, facing adversity from the forces of nature with stoic calm and acceptance.

Retreating to the studio after walking in nature provides distance from direct observation, an opportunity to edit and explore with more diverse organic materials, letting go of specificity and allowing pigment, wax, sand and debris to create the work. Random patterns and rhythms appear and disappear, elusive and eternal. These paintings journal my familiar, my origins, the places on earth scrutinized since childhood. I feel a reverence for authentic, iconic and evolving natural monuments; birthplace for cliff swallows and soul-place for me.

Artists who have influenced my recent work with their own earth encounters and consideration of mankind’s place on earth include Joan Snyder and Anselm Kiefer in their exploration of materials and engagement with abstract land; Michael Mazur and Pat Steir in bridging printmaking and painting, and addressing rhythmical, repetitive forms; Rackstraw Downes in his meticulous documentation of the banal, both man- made and natural; Gregory Amenoff in his engaging organic rhythms and built-up paint; Lois Dodd in her journaling of her familiar (quarries); and Marsden Hartley in his reverence of authentic, iconic and enduring natural monuments, the Katahdin Mountain series.Joyce Zavorskas

Born in Weymouth, MA and spending many summers on the Cape, Joyce Zavorskas has received both local and international recognition for her bold, innovative monotypes and paintings. Recent work includes a series of site-specific oil paintings, abstract paintings of erosional land forms, etchings, monotypes and multiple-plate monoprints. The images are generated from direct observation in nature, hiking the cliffs and documenting the eroding coastal environment. She has lived year round on Cape Cod since 1983, and maintained a Fenway Studio on Ipswich Street in Boston for 10 years.