Photo: Christine Joy, Union, red maple, 2009, courtesy of the artist, copyright the artist,

Christine Joy: Currents

October 2 2013 - January 15 2014

The exhibition Currents presents a selection of works from Bozeman artist Christine Joy. Joy creates sculptures from willows, red osier, and other branches. Although form and materials are rooted in traditional basketry, Joy’s approach and technique grow firmly out of contemporary sculptural practice. The majority of her objects can be walked around and viewed “in the round”, a concept fixed in contemporary sculptural aesthetic. Joy’s work has nothing to do with creating utilitarian containers, yet the intrinsic point of origin often lends reference to the works as basketry or basket forms. She considers herself a basket maker, just not in the traditional sense.

Joy explains that she never intended on becoming a basket maker when, in the spring of 1981, she simply wanted to make a basket. Over the course of the next several years her creative and technical processes evolved until she fell in love with working with willow cuttings. Her material of choice, wild willow, which she harvests in the fall, simultaneously guides and constrains the forms while she creates them. Joy works “one stick at a time in collaboration with the willow and the form taking shape.” This fundamental nature of the work – that the medium enlightens the form until the material and object become one – is its sheer power and the measure of confidence in Joy’s skilled, intuitive approach. The title Currents references the essence of Joy’s work – repetition, rhythm, flow, and an emotion that communicates with the natural materials but also suggests natural force was at play in the object’s creation. The sculptural works in this exhibition occupy the space of the second floor Morris and Helen Silver Gallery with gracious presence and nature’s subtle, subdued palette of reds, greens, and whites.

Christine Joy has an MA in Art Therapy from Vermont College of Norwich University, Montpelier, VT, and a BFA in Printmaking from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY.