Abstract art of the bold and beguiling kind – Joyce Ozier

Bold and beguiling. Words that spring to mind when catching a glimpse of the abstract art produced by Vancouver-based artist, Joyce Ozier. Her imaginative compositions, complete with engulfing expanses and explosions of colour, are sure to be any contemporary lover’s dream. 

Paintings of the large abstract kind have always caught Joyce’s eye; it was this fascination that fuelled her own desire to create large-scale canvases. To create this look, Joyce works on multiple panels simultaneously, but approaches the artwork as one piece – so the panels blend together. Approximately six by two feet, these panels are the building blocks of her art. In a recent interview, she comments on their alluring presence: “Large works draw you into the painting physically. You are essentially pulled into the environment and I find it very satisfying to evoke such a powerful effect.” For Joyce, painting is not just about the finished piece, it’s also about the gestural movement towards its evolvement. With brushes in hand, she physically moves in front of the canvas, in a dance-like fashion, to form the basic artwork composition. Next step involves the spinning and reordering of panels to invent an entirely different abstract look. Lastly, she adds oil pastels which overlap and intermingle in layers, applying repeatedly in this fashion until the painting strikes the right chord. Connecting to her inner core, it’s a work of improvisation led by raw energy – spontaneous and intuitive. The end point of the painting is a complete mystery from the moment the brush touches the canvas. For the viewer, it’s a sensory experience, based on the emotional impact of colours and the feelings they provoke.

And what influences Joyce’s signature style? Mark Rothko, Abstract Expressionist, and one of the masters of Colour Field Painting. His paintings of luminous colours and abstract shapes are bound to be known to most. Emerging in the 1940s and 1950s in New York, this movement brought the power of colour to the fore for the first time. Moving away from distinctive forms and singular narratives, it blurred together foregrounds and backgrounds to create flat images. As a style, it relied on large portions of continuous colour to lead the eye beyond the edge of the canvas – giving an illusion of infinity. Moreover, with the absence of definitive form, the experience is about colour alone, rather than anything else. Colour itself, and its emotive power, becomes the subject of the painting, as you can see in Joyce’s acyclic and oil pastel, “Big Bang Theory” It’s a purple and white explosion of colour which is sure to energize any interior space and help any neutral wall ‘pop’ with its splashes of colour.

So how did Joyce’s journey to Abstract Expressionist painter begin? With an entrepreneurial mindset, Joyce has been the brainchild of numerous arts related ventures over the years. Training in art and theatrical design, Joyce started out as director of the Royal Canadian Aerial Theatre; an experimental theatre group she ran with two other theatrical designers. The company performed at international festivals and art galleries, including a performance for the Governor General of Canada. After 10 years, and a short stint in theatre administration (including a role as Executive Director of the Scotiabank Dance Centre), Joyce found herself once again running her own company in the late 1990s – this time, a display and design company. While it was a successful enterprise with clients throughout the Pacific Northwest, Joyce didn’t feel entirely fulfilled – her artistic approach restricted by the confines of marketing client products. It was only when she retired from Wow! Windows after 10 years that she finally had the chance to pursue what she wanted – to be a painter – and had the ultimate creative freedom.

And what now? An accomplished abstract artist, Joyce’s work is admired worldwide; her signature bold colour art is hanging in many a home and office across the globe. You can also find Joyce’s works here in Vancouver as part of the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation Art Collection. While continuing to paint large-scale canvases, she is also excited about her newest project, the Little Picasso series. Commission-based, Joyce integrates a child’s art and her own to produce a contemporary piece worthy of displaying anywhere in the home. An ideal initiative for parents wanting to immortalize their little one's artwork forever. 

We’ve been enthralled by Joyce’s breathtaking art for a little while here at Kabuni; she was one of our featured artists in November last year at our Kabuni Spotlight. 

By Clare Langrishe

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