Entering The World Of Artist Stephanie Joyce
As above, so below. Stephanie Joyce’s art is grounded in nature while embodying an ethereal quality, a foot in both the earthly and heavenly realms. The result is a peaceful oasis in a troubled world.
In her series of paintings “Thin Places,” she references ancient Celts who spoke of places where the veil between heaven and earth is thin. She explains of her work, “In its creation a connection to the natural world is made and the subtle realms revealed. It is an invitation to enter and surrender to the mystery.” From landscape painting to mixed media to rice paper scrolls, sculpture and small shrine-like boxes, her art delivers both a journey of exploration and peaceful destination.
“The place where I found solace as a child was the forest where we made forts, fairy houses and played by the creek,” says Joyce, “I have always been intrigued by moss, vines, hornets, bees and other winged creatures, their nests and their world. One day while exploring in the woods I stepped in a hornet nest and ran home screaming with the stingers still attached and went into shock. After this experience I felt a deeper connection to the natural world and the spirits within it. It was an initiation into a new realm of being.”
Place has influenced Joyce starting with an old grist mill with a barn and open fields where she grew up in Virginia. She moved from the country to New York City to study at Parsons School of Design. The cultural mix of the city fascinated her and opened her eyes to other ways of being in the world. Joyce had a career as a colorist and designer for many years in New York until she moved to London and began focusing on painting and sculpture. Living abroad offered another shift in perspective. An interest in yoga led Joyce to India to study in Rishikesh along the Ganges at the foothills of the Himalayas. Joyce captures her travels in hand crafted Coptic-bound journals which are secret worlds that inspire her art.
Her current creative lair is her studio nestled in a salt marsh in North Haven. The bright, Zen-like studio complete with a gong houses the materials she uses to create her art. While there is the traditional oil paint, she also reuses or transforms other materials such as pulp of old boyfriend’s love letters, hornet nests, river birch bark, gold leaf, white peacock feathers, scrolls of poetry and an old wedding veil. The result is not only visual interest and texture but a portal through time and place, with ritual, symbols and anthropological roots. “It is an expression of life and its many layers,” she explains. She also uses the studio as a place to host visiting artists, sharing the inspirational and soul-searching setting.
Staying connected to the community is important for Joyce. She is a Community Fellow at The Watermill Center launching Mindful Mondays, creating environments for meditation which connect with the artwork and artifacts housed there. She will also be offering gong sound healing and intuitive painting sessions at Shou Sugi Ban House in Water Mill. Supporting artists in residence, Joyce is on the board of Ma’s House, a space on the Shinnecock Reservation for BIPOC artists.
“Living on the estuary in North Haven, the nursery for so much, life time slows down. Here, one can sense the essence of life where all elements belong, are interconnected and part of the whole.”