It’s Day THIRTY and I’m excited to present today’s artist. When I was initially researching and finding more contemporary artists for my STILL growing list, her paintings intrigued me. I then read more about her work and projects and was even more sucked into her work. Please join me in honoring Joy Garnett!
Joy Garnett (born 1965 ) is a painter and writer in Brooklyn, New York, USA. Garnett’s paintings, based variously on news photographs, scientific imagery and military documents she gathers from the Internet, examine the apocalyptic-sublime at the intersections of media, politics and culture. She engages contemporary consumption of media and the delineation between journalistic and artistic images. She takes the digital image itself as her subject and is interested in digital media in general. She is married to visual artist Bill Jones.
Her work is often associated with sampling in new media art and with appropriation art. Controversy surrounding her 2003 paintingMolotov has drawn international scrutiny to issues of ownership and fair use in appropriation art. Garnett’s work has been reproduced in publications including Harper’s, Perspecta: The Yale School of Architecture Journal, and Cabinet magazine.
Since 2005, Garnett has served as Arts Editor at Cultural Politics, a contemporary culture, politics and media journal published by Duke University Press. She is the editor of NEWSgrist.
Garnett completed her undergraduate work at McGill University in Quebec, Canada in 1983. In 1984 she went to Paris to study
painting, and in 1985 she enrolled at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, where she remained until she returned to New York in 1988. Once back in New York, she entered the graduate program at The City College of New York where she received her MFA in 1991. While attending City College, Garnett received the Elizabeth Ralston McCabe Connor Award.
After graduating, her work was exhibited in several group shows, including the Summer Show at Debs & Co., New York in 1999. Debs & Co. also hosted her first solo exhibition the following spring, entitled “Buster-Jangle”, a collection of paintings that appropriated photos of atomic bomb tests from the 1950s that Garnett found on the web after they were released by the US government under the Freedom of Information Act. Her work was reviewed and noted for its exploration of a “paradoxical realm of terrible beauty… tying together the histories of the bomb and American landscape painting.”
In 1997, while doing research for her first solo exhibition, Garnett began gathering images and documents about nuclear testing
from primary sources on the Internet. Eventually this resulted in an online compilation of material known as The Bomb Project. Spawned from her extensive imagery search, it led to an experimental recontextualization of images in a constantly growing archive. In creating The Bomb Project, Garnett addresses the role of the digital image as a cultural artifact, and attempts to reveal the information and hegemonic coding within these images with as little intervention as possible. She seeks to “establish a context where art, science and government are presented as interlocking and overlapping areas.” Since its launch in 2000, the Bomb Project has been expanded to include still and moving declassified imagery, as well primary source documents, links to current events and news articles. The original documentation, produced by the nuclear industry, is offered side by side with activist views, providing a context for comparative study, analysis and creativity. In its current form, the compendium is intended to be used as a resource for other artists.
Garnett is known for her appropriation of mass media images in her paintings. She collects images from news sources on the internet and saves them in her archives without noting the source or original photographer. Later, she recreates them in the form of oil painting on canvas. Each painting is produced in one sitting. Stylistically, the results are expressionist as opposed to photorealist.
Garnett explores the problem of the found object by re-mediating and
transforming the image of a journalistic photograph by painting it, thereby both shifting its context and opening it up for multiple interpretations by the viewer, as is consistent within the framework and context of art.
While Garnett’s appropriation art may be regarded by some as an extension of the postmodernist ambition to defy traditional notions of originality and authorship, it may be best framed in terms of the tradition of painting that responds to, engages and extends contemporary media theory. In any case, Garnett pushes the boundaries of her medium in order to understand its constraints more fully.
Garnett’s 2004 exhibition Riot featured a series of paintings based on images pulled from mass media sources, depicting figures in
“extreme emotional states.” One of the paintings, entitled Molotov, was originally sourced from a jpeg found on the Internet that was later discovered to be a fragment of a larger photograph taken by Susan Meiselas during the Sandinista Revolution (1979). After the Riot exhibition closed, Meiselas’s lawyer contacted Garnett with a cease and desist letter claiming copyright infringementand “piracy” of Meiselas’ photograph. The letter stipulated that she remove the image from her website, sign a retroactive licensing agreement to transfer all rights to the painting to Meiselas, and credit Meiselas on all subsequent reproductions of Molotov.
Garnett responded to a threat of injunction by removing the image of Molotov from her website. Once the image was removed from Garnett’s website, Meiselas did not pursue the matter further.
There is a ton more to read of her biography at wikipedia.
Now here’s my final piece in tribute to Joy Garnett! I went through so many photos online…tornados, floods, churches on fire
(ones that were surprisingly struck by lightening!), fires at night, fires during the day. I
finally narrowed it down to tornados or buildings on fire. They both seemed very entertaining to paint (in a disturbing way, I suppose). The bright orange and yellows of the fires called out to me so that was what I did. This is another example of a painting that I wish I did with oil. The blending would have been easier and smooth. Maybe when I move into my new house I can start moving onto oils for some of these paintings. For now, I think I’m not fairing too poorly with only acrylics!
See you tomorrow on the last day of January! It’ll be an entire month without a hitch. Yay me!