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Joan Holleb


The paintings of Chicago artist Joan Holleb occupy an exciting place between between process and image, between poetry and narrative. The material qualities of these works set them apart from most paintings, generating the unexpected effect of slowing down our gaze and causing us to look carefully at the interaction of copper, patina, and paint on the surface of the work.

Holleb begins the act of painting by pouring a patina solution on the surface of the copper and letting it run in various directions and oxidize. Typically, this process dictates the direction the composition will develop, and the use of chance and spontaneous activity becomes the foundation for all that follows. Says Holleb: "I actually paint/draw with the patinas and splash them across the metal because I enjoy the uncertainty of what will happen - it creates a challenge as to how to paint the piece."

As Holleb develops the work, the paintings become compelling and ambitious meditations on our relationship to the natural world. Holleb uses oil paint to seemingly coax a landscape from the surface of the painting. In some of the recent work, her focus has turned upward, and the light through leaves and branches in the forest has become her subject. "For me, the light in my paintings is not just the light we see with our eyes but is also an allegorical light, something I think we all need every day in our lives to give us hope." Holleb continues: "I want my paintings to vibrate on the wall and I want viewers to have to stop and wonder for a moment, 'What am I looking at?' - I want to encourage them to create their own interpretations."


All paintings are framed with a 2" to 4" border.

Alice's Garden, oil and patina on copper, framed, 36x60


Tulip Lineup, oil and patina on copper, framed, 36x60


In the Garden: Lilacs, oil and patina on copper, framed, 31x38


In the Garden: Tulips, oil and patina on copper, framed, 31x38


Jingle Jangle Golds, oil and patina on copper, framed, 36x60


Canopy Tango, oil and patina on copper, framed, 38x38


Tropical Vibrato, oil and patina on copper, framed, 38x38


The Grove, oil and patina on copper, framed, 30x36


Climbing Golds, oil and patina on copper, framed, 26x31


Burst, oil and patina on copper, framed, 16x16


Jitterbug, oil and patina on copper, framed, 18x41





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