Jennifer Joiner


Pearl River

Notes for “We Are A Part of Something”   June 2019 exhibition,
Rebecca Gallery, Toronto

Abstract art can be difficult for viewers.  Few ways in.  No representation to hold on to - not for the artist either.  The grids in a recent series of paintings build and organize the space.  The grids vary in colour, composition and even a little in their movement from very still to small movements.

Thematically, the grid is an emblem of order  human made and natural world.   And randomness and chance in these grids are part of their making.  The handmade pattern, the flow of improvised decisions while painting push the work towards a destination arrived at by chance and choice.  No certainties, exploratory, suggestive.

In the Arms of an Angel

The grid paintings describe ‘no place,’ nothing, and yet they have a feeling of place with the ‘landscape’ orientation that can be read as having a horizon.  In the Inuktitut language the word ‘kitjaqnaaq’ refers to the feeling we have of connection to the world beyond us when standing before a glorious landscape, that “we are a part of something.”  These paintings are meditations on landscape.


We tend to believe we have the ability to shape, order and fully understand our world, but human ability has its limits.   So much we just don’t know, surely cannot entirely know, ever.   Yet every one of us is sure, exactly from our human perspective, that we are a part of something tangible, our reality, our existence in the world, right here, now.  These grids are emblematic of human perception, able to create, to explore and also imperfect, incomplete, forever limited and humbled.

Selected Exhibitions

Rebecca Gallery, ‘We Are a Part of Something,’ May 30 - June 29, 2019   solo
Back Lane Studio, ‘Networks of Perception,’ June 2018  solo
Art on the Street, Guelph, 2017
Hoop-La, Necessary Arts, eBar, Guelph, 2017
Guelph Main Library, 2016   solo
Nepal Fundraiser, Toronto pop up gallery, 2015
Neilson Park Creative Centre, 2014
The Frame Maker, 2013  solo
The Distillery District Artfest, 2006-2007
Bloor West Village Studio Tours, 1999-2005
Mahon Hall Gallery, two shows, Saltspring Island, BC, Jurors’ Choice Sculpture, 1997-1998
The Newman Gallery, ‘To the Moon Alice,’ 1996
Three Story Cabaret Silent Auction, Music Gallery, 1995
The Ontario Society of Artists, 121st Open Juried Exhibition, Jurors’ Choice Sculpture, 1995
Rebecca Gallery, ‘Caution: Slippery When Wet,’ 1996   solo
Samuel J. Zacks Gallery, ‘En Passant,’ 1993   solo
Arthur Haberman Gallery, ‘Re Search,’ 1994   solo
IDA Gallery, 1993-94 shows, Honourable Mention
Public space installations  solo: Pages Books Gallery Window, ‘Reconfigureconconfi,’ 1993;
Queen St. W. Window, ‘Red Woman,’ 1995; Ossington Ave., ‘Bench,’ 1995;
Chimneystack Rd., ‘Blue Poles,’ 1994   
Commissioned paintings (14) for feature films, short independent films, sizzlers, web series, 2014-2018

BFA Visual Arts program, York University, 1991-1994 
Toronto School of Art and OCA (OCAD U), coursework, 1985-1991
English Literature MA program, University of Toronto, 1980-81
BA in English Literature and Political Science, Victoria College, University of Toronto, 1980 (Honours)
Goldsmith College, London, coursework, 1978-79