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November 3, 2023
November 26, 2023

Devotions is a site-specific exhibition of paper pulp paintings and hand-dyed textiles. In Devotions, Scanlon reinterprets “inherited forms,” referencing quilts, altarpieces, and mosaics.  The paintings are brightly colored and intricately patterned. The compositions are torn between harmony and chaos—from afar, they read as unified and normative. Upon approach, the contrasts in their units assert themselves, and homogeneity falls away. Scanlon approaches repetition of the units of a pattern as a kind of devotion-- and variation as divine. On the painting plane, the artist argues, contradiction can be aestheticized to the point of eliciting pleasure. 

Scanlon utilizes fluid papermaking processes to create the work on view, which she frames as painting. The artist collects used cotton fabric scraps, which she processes to create the paper pulp. This paper pulp forms the basis of the work, and is also pigmented to become the majority of the “paint” the artist uses. Acrylic paint, encaustic, and watercolor are added to the paintings, creating depth and the experience of multiple visual registers.

On this process, the artist states, “With these water-based processes and the time the steps take —soaking, beating, pigmenting, pulling— my brain and the material can fall out of synch, and I have to negotiate that. It reminds me of Robert Venturi’s idea of welcoming problems and exploiting uncertainties. Process forces me to create a difficult inclusion between my ideas and reality.”

On display in Devotions is an accordion book “altarpiece” covered in pattern drawn from a number of sources, particularly Medieval Cosmati mosaics. The book acts as a repository of pattern, in its seemingly infinite repetition and variation, from which the artist draws motifs for her 2D paintings.

Also on view are two 4.5 x 6’ single sheets of paper created entirely by the artist through an experimental paper-making process; hand-dyed textiles; and small patterned paper paintings.

Devotions will be open to the public on the weekends of November 4-5 (Austin Studio Tour WEST) and November 11-12 (Austin Studio Tour EAST + WEST) and by appointment.

LAKES exhibition installed in GLHF gallery, march 2021

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About the artist(s)

Joy Scanlon


Joy Scanlon (born 1992, Long Island, New York) lives and works in Austin, TX. Scanlon is a painter who employs organic, experimental hand-papermaking processes to translate, distort, and reproduce patterns—both visual and behavioral.  Scanlon has participated in group exhibitions nationally. She is a three-time Kossak Painting Fellowship recipient and has been an artist-in-residence at Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild and Lacawac Artists’ Residency. Scanlon received her MFA from UT Austin (2022) and her BFA from Hunter College, CUNY (2016). Devotions is her first solo exhibition.

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