Joyce Carreira

To paint is language – a visual kind of language: the paint, the textures, the lines and forms, the canvass… they all speak to her, Joyce says, in related, but different dialects.  When she talks about art, Joyce thus becomes a ventriloquist of sorts: art gives voice to its inner workings through her.  She simply articulates what the colours whisper to her through the subtle shapes they take on beneath her creating hands.

Usually when art comes to form under the hands of a painter, it is via a go-between, a medium – the brush.  In Joyce’s case, that is different.  Brushes never get to stroke the paintings to life, like a magic wand, under her guidance.  With Joyce, the magic is all hands-on.  Directly.  It is with her palms and fingers that Joyce applies the paint, caresses the canvass, conducts the colours into place on the painter’s cloth in front of her.

Here, the line between painting and sculpture has become blurred.  A Joyce painting (no surname signed – just “Joyce”!) is at once also a Joyce sculpture.  That is how she experiences her art too, and with good reason.  Apart from the fact that she paints as directly hands-on as is humanly possible, her initial creative outlet was as sculptor.  From there, she moved on to charcoal, with drawings that were powerful – not eccentric, but expressive, with a high emotional load.  Though she still sketches in this way, most of Joyce’s work is now in paint – a natural move, Joyce points out, because charcoal and oils attract each other.

If a writer may be called a pen pusher, Joyce may be called a colour pusher: she shapes the scenes she creates as a sculptor may do with clay.  There is much to learn from this on just how physical art can be…  From Joyce we may well learn that: as an art teacher, she has ten years education experience at different high schools.  But now, it is all painting for Joyce – full time; full stop.  Well, about as “painting” as Joyce gets, with her fingers trailing across the canvass to bring the pictures to life…

There is something very sensual about painting without brushes – the figures she gives form to flow from her fingers directly – almost like a repetition, with every new picture, of the biblical creation account: life, anew!  The shapes are sensual too: mostly bodies; mostly female; mostly nude.  Yet the subjects do not affront you.  You may look at them, but they do not see you.  Their gaze is away from the observer, over your shoulder, where “she” – the nude female body – sees something more; not just me.  The interaction is sensual; not lurid.  To be sure, the lure is always there, enticing the viewer, inviting us to enter into the world of the picture.  But then, equally, the connection is never complete – more is always left to be said, to be seen…

This sense is heightened by the different media Joyce uses.  In addition, by the experimentation with frames, which are not just incidental add-ons to hem the picture.  With strong, dark, full dimensions, these fames enlarge the three-dimensional experience that is an encounter with a Joyce work of art.  2-D or not 2-D – that is not the question here; the experience is fully 3-D.  The feel of the whole is earthy and tactile; not just visual, but physical.  A picture may well speak a thousand words, but when done in this alluring way, the painting is always a Loreley, drawing us ever closer, ever nearer with her sensual voice.