Review of Joy Gardner’s show,
“Lost in the Garden”
by LaVada Raouf
Adjunct Lecturer in Art History/Dept Fine & Performing Arts, Springhill College
Joy Gardner’s exhibition, Lost in the Garden, currently showing at the Sophiella Gallery in downtown Mobile, is a lush exploration of line and color. While evocative of the natural world, Gardner’s work succeeds because it transcends the natural. Color and form swirl and slash in a tightly coordinated palette of sometimes soft sometimes vibrant hues. In Gardner’s hands the familiar colors of Mobile’s flora become more than descriptive of camellias or hydrangeas or lilies. Combined with the gestural arcs and sweeps, this color is expressive. It seeks to draw a response from the viewer.
In viewing the nearly 50 pieces, it is easy to see Gardner’s command of color and form. Her fluid movement between thicker impasto sections to thinner washes to linear passages beckon the viewer for a closer look; drawing us into her world. The activated gestural canvases flow into the color field abstractions that flirt with the more representational works. It is a world apart from yet dependent on nature. It is a world as Thoreau described, “the marriage of the soul with nature that makes the intellect fruitful, and gives birth to imagination.”