"Inspirational moments of being, past and present, internal and external, human and divine.
Creative process, stream of consciousness flowing through subject, form and content.
Mix of media, materials and expressions of a personal visual vocabulary.
The artwork is poetic; language of art + poetry + spirit + soul.
Throughout the thematic series, narrative images and symbolic abstractions are threads of my autobiography.
I let go and am at peace ***." - ©2020 Jo Sinclair
2020 - 2022
THROUGH WISDOM WATERS
Solo Exhibition * 2019
Through Wisdom Waters, April 2019 solo show, evolved to become the sequel to the previous exhibition Navigating the Soul's Journey. May 2017. Continuing the metaphor of the boat to explore a range of “soulful” introspective and universal themes, adding the concept of through wisdom waters both literally and figuratively, this body of work weaves together the two journeys of explorations, experimentations, innovations and remembrances of years of art-making.
When seen collectively, the artworks are tied together in a “rhapsody of blues”, yet individual narratives / messages / words of wisdom are both revealed and hidden throughout the pieces. Again, select pages from several influential books, this time including Matthew Fox’s “Creativity”, Kristen Tippet’s “Becoming Wise” and Kalhil Gibran’s “The Prophet” and others, and purposefully chosen poetic text, images, musical scores, and handwritten journal notes are collaged under many subtle layers of paint and mediums. Composition copper, gold, silver and 24K gold leaf along with woven and wrapped threads illuminate the art process and the visual content, The results emanating the artist’s wisdom journeying through the waters of creating and the wise poetic messages treasured from within.
“Submersion into the Depths of Wisdom” was created with the intention to represent the deep waters one's soul (boat) descends to discover the whirlpool of wisdom within. The white boats symbolize a purified soul, diving to a death, yet illuminating a rebirth. A theme I seem to continually explore.
So although this is a remembering, it is not an ending.
Wisdom waters wash over me as new beginnings begin…..
whatever, whenever, however, wherever
that artistic form is born again.
NAVIGATING THE SOUL'S JOURNEY SERIES
Solo Exhibition * 2017
The theme for this series and exhibition, Navigating the Soul's Journey, washed over me in the fall of 2016 when I decided to express the essence of the soul's voyage, my voyage during the creative process. Although I originally planned to create beautiful ethereal seascapes in encaustic painting for the solo show at Arts on Douglas Gallery, New Smyrna Beach, FL, May 2017, major obstacles were thrown into my creative ocean. From personal and close friends' physical, mental and spiritual challenges, the impact of hurricane Matthew, world turmoil, and pressures of time constraint challenged my comfort zone. And a small, still voice inside became sonorous - screaming to me to take the risk and journey to the depths. From the burning flames of inspiration, through deep waters, dark nights and depths of perfect storms, to poetic ascension into spirit and healing waters, the image and symbol of the mythic soul boat emerged.
The tales of my travels during this creative time are layered throughout the mixed-media surfaces. Chosen pages from Rollo May's book, "Courage to Create", excerpted passages of poetry, defined papers from an old dictionary, selected images and text from a book of masterpiece paintings, and significant handwritten pages culled from daily journals enhance the viewer's engagement with the artwork. The metaphor of the boat as soul, the incorporation of nautical symbols, the exploration of a primary palette and the expression of fire and water further narrates the trials and tribulations of my personal artistic journey, symbolic of one's life voyage and the treasures found within.
I persevered as captain of my mythic soul boat. The body of work I created, including "Poetic Passage - Self Portrait of the Artist as Soul Boat" above, serves as a reminder of where I have been, mindful of where I am now, and reveals to me new horizons to creatively discover, explore, experiment and innovate.
I look forward to embarking on more journeys of the soul,
mark-makings of now and becoming,
and future poetic visions.
WAY OF BEE-ING SERIES
From 2-Person Exhibition * 2016
I feel at home with the medium of encaustics. This piece "Way of Bee-ing", along with the mixed-media encaustic paintings from the entire series of the same name, shown at my 2-person exhibition Birds and Bees at The Cultural Center of Ponte Vedra Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach Florida in Spring of 2016
"bee"-speaks of a lighter more joyful side.
Working with the beeswax reminds me of the hours spent as a young child under the hot summer sun
melting Crayola crayons with a small magnifying glass on the sidewalk.
Yet now it is the adult artist at play.
I continue to seek for the sweet spots and BEE in the flow with art of encaustic painting.
LAND, SEA & SKY SMALL ENCAUSTICS
Selected Artwork * 2010 - Present
From the first moment heating the luscious beeswax and rich pigment on the surface of a painting, watching it glisten as I fuse the layers in an workshop in 2010, I have been captivated with the ancient art of encaustics. I was inspired to do something with the bees by the amazing apiculture work of my husband,
Bo Sterk, beekeeper, bee whisperer. Yet I am allergic to honey bees. So unable to participate and share in his passion, I discovered my own in this artform. I enjoy experimenting and exploring the medium and adding my own mixed-media elements. I am continuously curious about the natural balance between
hot and cold, liquid and solid, and control and act of letting go with the process.
I began my journey into the art of encaustic painting through the path of the landscape, particularly along the marshlands, then along the beaches near my home. "Spring in the Marsh I" above glows in the warmth of the sun. Threads and lines of special poetic text weave across the view,
tying this work and others to my lineage as a weaver.
The journey continues though tapestries of land, sea and sky.
SEAT OF THE SOUL
Selected Artworks * 2006 - 2018
Seat of the Soul Series continues The Artist Way Series with small mixed-media chairs assembled from found objects and embellished with fragments and poetic lines of meaningful text. From the mark of a red pencil suspended in front of a poem in the Artist/Poet Chair to the egg that is hatched nesting within the first page of ACT 1-Spring, these chairs invite the viewer:
To sit in contemplation, meditation, and imagination.
THE ARTIST WAY
Selected Artworks * 2003 - 2007
"The heART of ART" epitomizes The Artist Way Series. The artwork honors the beauty of the artist’s art tools, art materials, art books, art images, found objects and soul and spirit of the artist’s knowledge and creative process with reverent composition. Created in response to myself as a studio artist, as an art appreciation instructor and through the tradition of mixed-media collage and assemblage art set by such masters as Picasso, Jim Dine, and Robert Rauschenberg, the work embodies a collection of these well used, yet treasured, things from the studio. Reproductions of famous works of art from pages of the old art history book, "Art of the Western World from ancient Greek to Post-Modernism" by Michael Wood, are significantly collaged, earliest artworks at top to later masterpieces on bottom, all underneath the assembled found objects from my studio and the studios of three artist friends. Central to the ‘heart’ of the artwork is the opening to the Table of Contents from the remaining binding of the book set inside edges of folded draped canvas and tubes of well-used paint. One of my very special red pencils with a story all its own is arranged and embedded within this page of content to symbolize a connection with and deep solemn respect toward all artists and their artworks throughout the history of western art.
From my heART to yours.
Selected Artworks * 2003 - 2007
From abstract color field paintings to more literal translations of the landscape / seascape assembled and collaged with found object s and layers of personal symbols, motifs, text and images, Poet Landscape Series explores the places of nature the artist finds spirit and soul. Above, "A Place in Spring" invites the viewer through a window into the warm glow of the day's setting sun upon the marsh. Three other significant works in this series include "Twilight Passage to Dawn", an autobiographical visual poem layered with personal symbols, motifs, and images. "Passage" that stands tall like an icon with its formal invitation to enter the dark. And the tryptic, "Dialogue at Dawn", that opens to a language of atmospheric light glowing from the written flames below that have ignited the poet’s soul.
Take the time to wander the path of visual poetry.
HEARTS OF ART & POET HOUSES
Selected Artworks * 2002 - 2003
One day my daughter Zoë, then 10 years of age, came wandering into my studio. I was working on some abstract pieces. "Momma", she said, "You are being too serious.. Why don't you do something fun and that people can recognize like 'hearts and houses'. That is what people want to buy. I think you would sell better if you included images of hearts and houses. Honoring her suggestions, I created a series of mixed-media shadow box "Hearts of Art & Poet Houses". I loved drawing with the rich luscious Sennelier oil pastels and enjoyed developing small poetic narratives combining mixed-media elements of collage, text and found objects. Not just any hearts or houses.... And my daughter approved.
Selected Artworks * 1983 - 1999
Desert Song, a large body of exploratory and experimental mixed-media sculptural and relief artworks. These inventive pieces were composed and orchestrated of handmade and Japanese papers, woven copper and brass wire and metal, with additions of found object "notes" like a feather or a bead,. A series of wood panels constructed, covered and stitched (COMING SOON) then stained and painted with acrylic and other mediums complete the final chorus.
I wandered into the mystical land of the Southwest Desert, once an ancient inland sea.
Like an archeologist, I search for signs, symbols, artifacts and talismans that might reveal the history found within its forms such as Running Ridge.
While below...a rushing river of creativity from the sea long ago echoes in the canyons of the vastness of my soul.
The Desert Song,
Resounding the past, resounding the future, essence remembered.
The Legend of the White Feather continues.
DESERT SONG MIXED MEDIA JEWELRY
Selected Artworks * 1983 - 1991
The Legend of the White Feather continues...First metaphorical journey into the mystical land of the Southwest Desert, I began manipulating materials that then became modeled into small maquettes for larger scale work. Copper became the symbolic material conducting my creative energies and the paper became the muse authoring my visual sensitivities . Along with using an unconventional combination of processes and techniques, I invented the mixed-media jewelry. These small artworks complimented the larger sculptural and relief works creating an environment like a desert where the poet would wander with the spirit of the Desert Song.
LEGEND OF THE WHITE FEATHER
Solo Exhibition * 1980 / Selected Artworks * 1980 - 1982
And The Legend began.......1979, I was sitting in my small apartment pondering next moves two years out of art school. Waiting tables, teaching Saturday Children's Classes at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Saturday Beginning Weaving Classes to high schoolers did provide me the monies to rent the upstairs of a small house in a very ethnic neighborhood and share a large open cheap warehouse space in downtown Cleveland, yet not enough money or time left to produce any noteworthy art and begin a "real" art career. My burning desire to continue the investigations I had begun within the pieces from Woven Memories, and possibly contribute to the expanding boundaries of the fibre art movement inspired by the fibre works of Lenore Tawny and of Olga de Amaral with whom I studied at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in 1979, combined with the spark of thematic visual narratives my soul and spirit wished to express, the flames of young artistic ambition was fueled. Yet, while at the small time, a part of me was smothering the fires of my dream with the wavering doubt of facing the unknown mixed with the nagging lack of confidence "I am not good enough as an artist" that lingers to this day. I thought, "I just need a 'sign' that this is what I am to be doing and being - artist." As soon as this flashed across my mind I looked down on my floor. There, laying softly, simply and profoundly, was a small white feather! I did not have a feather pillow, nor a bird, nothing. I drew in a long measured conscious breath. This here was 'My Sign', and one that is universally understood to be from Spirit...Seconds later, while watching the feather, I got an unexpected call from Bo, a friend, a well known Cleveland artist with strong artistic ambitions. And another 'Sign' I interpreted to mean that I too was to pursue my own artistic career. Feeling like I had grown wings, yet grounded enough to know I needed to take action, I applied and fortunately received an Individual Artist / Ohio Arts Council Grant for $3000 in early fall of 1980. It was awarded to support my intention to create a body of thematic work exploring unconventional weaving materials and techniques concluding by sharing the artwork in a solo exhibition. Fortunately, at the very same time, I was offered the opportunity to show that new work in the spring of 1981 at the Susan Fiori Gallery on Murray Hill, Cleveland, Ohio. Thus the show, titled before the work was complete, Fibre Works, became The Legend of the White Feather, breathed into being during the long hours of creating, dawn to dusk and well into the dark nights.
White feathers, the providence / coincidence / synchronicity of their messages, have guided my personal narrative ever since.
Selected Artworks * 1978 - 1979
Memories and dreams, fleeting moments when a rock glazed with water on the shore becomes a work of art and lingering years when a sunset becomes the golden treasure into the night.
...Poetry, its line, color, rhythm, structure...woven into tangible realities...
This is the vision of my work I wish to share with others.
Weaving has become the craft through which I create with the intention that I am fabricating a vision, not making fabric.
My work is a constant experimentation expanding my visual vocabulary with each new piece. Each thread and fiber, each wire and strip of metal becomes a word. Each combination a sentence, then a paragraph. Each completed design and structure a story.
Through the discipline of weaving I weave the poetry of my vision.
5.7.20 - ***Reflecting today on this statement above, I realize that this was the pivotal point that came fortuitously at the very beginning of my art career. I knew then, as I am reminded now, of who I am as an artist and why I create. The passion beating in my heart, flaming of my soul, breathing from my spirit and resounding with my voice wants to share with others the inspiration, exploration, experimentation and the alchemy of my art for transcendence and truth.
...Throughout my years I see that although I often wanted to respond to life's hardships with darkness, I chose to express with light...
Yet now, in this pandemic, I choose to move forward expressing both.
I know where to "begin again...".