JoAnne Lobotsky’s “Compass,” textiles and acrylic on canvas, 16 x 12 inches, 2016
There’s something amazing about witnessing an artist’s turn in her path, and if you traverse the bodies of work in JoAnne Lobotsky’s portfolios, such a moment will be revealed. After more than a decade of fascinating, frequently complex, and often slightly surreal oil paintings, her work takes a turn, concentrating on smaller, mixed-media pieces that are “driven by a need to create works without illusory space.” I needed to know more about that statement, and was especially curious about Compass, the opening artwork for this Guest Spot! My queries generated the following explanation from the artist:
“I want to make things that exist on the same plane and in the same world as we do. Not some illusory space that you drift into, like a window you are looking through.
“My work has bumps and textures and pieces of things glued to it – I’m offering up bits of the real world. The less the elements I used in these pieces coalesce into something beyond what they are, the more I like it. Maybe it is a response to an increasingly digital world. It definitely feels like a response or a declaration.
“What was I thinking about Compass? I had just received that textile with the horses and was excited to include an image that wasn’t abstract. This is a textile that most would think of as kitsch or just in bad taste. So I was excited about that as well.
“I had also recently received the fabric with people in traditional Asian clothing. So, basically, the West meets the East … I was looking to put things together that do not usually belong together. Similarly, the black cloud and the white clouds are very, very thick, in contrast to the flatness elsewhere.
“My frame of mind was that there was nothing to lose and I had no attachment to seeing any particular outcome. I grew up on a farm, and the land was primary to my childhood. Many of my pieces reference landscape somehow, and I see this piece as a landscape. I turned it upside down and prefer it this way as it becomes even more surprising, adding the north and south part to the East and West, hence the title.
“Compass excites me – it’s one of those pieces that is showing me the way forward, and I want to do more with the ideas there, and with representational imagery.” Here’s a virtual voyage through ten other recent works. How can art be raw and exquisite at the same time? I don’t know but feel that Ms. Lobotsky creates that effect. They strike me as maps to my daily-life soul, that if I can just stare at each one long enough, I will understand who I am and exactly where to go next.
“Wanderlust,” fabric and acrylic on canvas, 10 x 8 inches, 2015
“Later that Night,” acrylic and modeling paste on panel, 16 x 12 inches, 2015
“Some Birds of the Tropics,” acrylic, faux fur, newspaper, cloth and tape on canvas, 24 x 18 inches, 2015
“Some Birds of the Northeast,“ vintage fabric, linen and acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, 2015
“Before They Knew,“ acrylic, ink, burlap and other threads, wax paper bag, feathers, corn husk and handmade paper on canvas, 14 x 11 inches, 2015
“Beginner,“ acrylic, paper, fabric, cardboard, plastic and wood on panel, 24 x 36 inches, 2015
“Detour,“ fabric, faux fur, felt, silk, paper, sticks and cheesecloth on canvas, 16 x 24 inches, including support, 2015
“Overland to the River,” acrylic, modeling paste, faux fur, cheesecloth, burlap, textiles, glitter and wood veneer paper on panel, 30 x 24 inches, 2016
“Messenger,” acrylic, cheesecloth, paper, newspaper and plastic on canvas, 18 x 24 inches, 2016
“Crossing,” acrylic, silk, modeling paste and paper on canvas, 12 x 9 inches, 2015
All images in this Guest Spot are © JoAnne Lobotsky 2016.