Joan Roberts Garcia entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts at the age of 27, pregnant with her first of two children. Thus began two inextricably intertwined, equally demanding and rewarding yet often conflicting roles: that of a serious artist and as a single mother. Joan was awarded a traveling scholarship upon graduation, which she took in Spain- three-year-old daughter in tow. The Moorish architecture excited and inspired years of abstractions in mixed media, that combined spatial and physical opposites in accumulations that forced the viewer to give up trying to focus on parts and experience their effect instead- much like what is seen in nature.
After years of comparing textures and patterns with natural materials and metal, showing natural layering and disintegration, Garcia missed color and returned to oil painting and two dimensional mixed media and painting. A recurring theme is one of squashes and other organic forms, painted at dusk when they seem to disappear and become part of the darkness around them. Some of these paintings have titles that reveal themselves as self-portraits, such as, “Look What Happened to Cinderella” and “La Maternidad- perched”. The subject of redefinition that comes with later motherhood is also explored in “Once Upon a Time” a portrait of an empty rocking chair, springs exposed, caught in the shimmering light of dusk that bounces off its surface and her art studio around it. She does not see a separation between the mixed media abstracts and more objective paintings as what she is exploring is a similarity of underlying formal qualities within diverse materials and subjects. Subject matter is not important. It is the form that counts.
Space and geometry witnessed in landscapes are some current subjects Joan is exploring. She refers to some new landscapes as her “membrane paintings”. Perhaps you can see why in Birch, and Turn in the Road. Nature has always been the source of her inspiration, whether in the brambles and trees she photographs, the subtle nuances of dusk light on organic forms, interiors, architectural and urban forms or in the natural process of tarnish in pieces such as Icon or Maine Winter.