Christopher Joy settles on the floor

I met Christopher Joy a couple years ago at A-Space Gallery in West Haven when our work was included in Scale Factor, a group show about the importance of size relationships. Joy contributed a small shaped painting installation (pictured below) positioned on a large wall that he had painted the distinctive, signature mauve he had been using in all his work at the time.

Since then, Joy’s work, expunged of mauve, has settled on the floor and, despite his painterly use of industrial materials, has become, well, sculpture.

In a Skype conversation last week, we talked about the
sculpture/painting hybrids that so many artists are crafting these days.
“Hanging on a wall, separated from our own physical surroundings,
viewers look at and into paintings,” he suggested, “but
interaction with sculpture is different. When it’s on the floor, as
opposed to a pedestal, it’s part of our environment, like furniture. We
can look through it rather than just at it.” Joy’s introduction of handcrafted wooden bases stems from his desire to get the work off the wall while, at the same time, putting it in a more personal space than traditional pedestals allow.

Last month he had a terrific two-person show with Becky Yazdan at Giampietro Gallery in New Haven, CT, where I made this short video of the three delicately flinty pieces in the exhibition. The video shows more clearly than jpegs how the scuptures are a conglomeration of many smaller, painterly elenents.

For Joy, discovery and fluid interpretation are central. Rather than
assigning specific meaning, he prefers to let the viewer come to her own
understanding–just as he himself does through the process of tinkering
and assembling. 
Here are a few details snaps that show how Chris takes an intuitive approach with the materials and nurtures that idea of looking through.

As Joy combines small sections, strewn about the studio, into larger pieces, meaning morphs from one move to the next.  Joy says he wants to keep viewers off-kilter, to make them look and think the way he does as he works. “If you already know what it is, or what’s going to happen, or what it means before you start,” he wonders, “why bother?”

BONUS: Check out Joy’s new online documentary art project Art Extrovert.
Image at top: Christopher Joy, Devil’s Tower, 2013, mixed media.
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