Joyce Polance

Artist's Statement

In our current political climate of polarization and fake news, I feel there is nothing more important than authenticity. For me, this means a willingness to be vulnerable, exposed, to reveal my inner, chaotic experiences in my work. Through letting myself be known, I hope to inspire others to let themselves be known, forging genuine human connections as resistance to a world where we can’t believe much of what we read.


I explore the theme of vulnerability through both my subject matter and my painting process.   I begin with a specific reference, but once the image is initially laid in, I cease looking at it. Instead, I engage in dialogue with the painting, letting it lead me to unknown places. Objects begin to change shape; planes become distorted, crashing into one another, melting. I often paint upside down in order to view the subject as an abstract composition, enabling me to focus on color and movement rather than on representation. I throw myself into the work (using brushes or my fingers) with abandon, covering up or breaking apart surfaces I have just created. In becoming willing to destroy my work, I allow for something entirely new to emerge. These processes occur multiple times during the creation of a piece, removing the image even further from reality.  My use of thick, impasto paint, gouges, intense color, and expressive brushwork all contribute to obscuring the specific features of my subject while revealing (perhaps previously hidden) emotional qualities.


When I sense the painting authentically reflects an element of my own vulnerabilities: being a woman, loneliness, obsessive thinking, sensitivity…it is complete.