"LOVE TO PAINT," a film by Marcia Ward. Interviewed in her studio, Coco shares her thoughts on color and composition and technique, as well as musing upon the nuances and complexity of her creative process. The film also presents the paintings from her 2016 exhibition, MAKE IT SQUARE, at Spark Gallery in Denver.
"The creative process has a mind of its own. I am only the hand holding the brush." - Joyce Coco
EARTH & Home - 2021
The great physicist, Albert Einstein, once said “the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” Most artists know this intuitively. I do, and the content of Earth & Home springs from such understanding as much as it is enabled by my love of painting and my love of color. In these works are icons and symbols I’ve always loved: a chair, a boat, a table top, a bird, a house, a birthday cake, a flower, a sofa; many of them are not only symbolic but transformative as well: a sofa makes a house a home and suggests comfort, an egg becomes a chicken that becomes food, a boat symbolizes a journey transforming place from there to here, a table transforms a room to a gathering place.
My approach to these paintings was quite thoughtful as I ruminated on thoughts domestic and nostalgic. And the feelings engendered by my thoughts moved from the comfort of a mother’s lap to a longing for the presence of one missing. I used the square as a template of sorts for EARTH & HOME as squares represent the laws of nature that exist in the physical realm, laws that lend a sense of security and predictability. These paintings reflect the utter simultaneity of time and place, of earth and home.
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands a the cradle of true art and true science; whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.” -Albert Einstein
It has been a fruitful twenty years of painting since Joyce Coco graduated from the Fine Arts program at the University of Denver, Cum Laude, in 1986. Her work has been displayed at many of the top galleries in Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, and as far as Mexico. She has had many one-woman, group and invitational shows throughout the West. Many of the collectors of her work return again and again to collect her newest painting series.
Working with personal symbolism, Coco’s gift for layering color onto the canvas always delights the eye. It is perhaps a reflection of the layers of her life that she brings forth into her paintings. Growing up in Texas, Coco was ever observant of the references and relationships, the environment and experiences around her. These “moments of perfection” found expression on the canvas not by technique and training, but by a stubborn attempt to leave all the training and intellect behind. Her desire to find a solution through art is evident in her work, some of it haunting and some of it full of joy, all told through color and lights.
Extensive travel feeds Coco’s paintings in both reference objects and color combinations. The palette deepens and matures with each adventure, burnishing the choices she makes with her brush and palette knife. She believes that these experiences become transmitted through her painting. As she paints she communicates with those very moments of perfection in order to taste her life more fully. It is as if the thin line between her life and her art is erased as she works.