For many years Joanna Gabler, inspired by her feeling for color, concentrated almost exclusively on oil painting, as a medium for the finished work she presented to the public, while she continued to work actively in photography as a means to sharpen her vision and relate to the sensual world. In recent years she has experimented with mixed media and collage, and above all the rich, complex imagery she derives from photographs by digital methods.
She has a deep and intimate relationship with color and its healing qualities, which began in the mid-1980’s, when she started working with watercolor and pastels. She developed these further in early 1990’s in a series of art courses (at FIT, the Pratt Institute and the New York Art Students’ League) and in the exploration of various media, from stained glass to painting on silk. Since 1994 her primary medium is oil on canvas.
Joanna’s deep experience of color forms a bridge between her two fields of interest as a painter, spiritual life and nature, which find their expression both in direct, but spiritually inspired representations of nature: portraits of flowers as a visible sign of love in nature and sky-scapes, showing the vastness and everchanging color of clouds and sky and the immense beauty of colors experienced during sunsets, as well as pure meditations from her inner life.
Flowers and Landscapes
The myriad forms, textures, patterns, and colors of flowers create a macrocosm in which we enter within the flowers and experience the space without as a remote and mysterious vastness. Joanna creates entire worlds within the confines of the petals, and her intense expression of her experience leads to a meditative comprehension of these visible signs of love in nature. She calls these paintings portraits of flowers, because they develop from her encounter with each bloom as an individual living organism that makes its own gesture for humans to engage and contemplate. Using dramatic contours and vibrant colors she creates a powerful sense of the flowers’ physical presence and evokes the creative energy they embody in the world.
When Joanna has approached landscape, she looks as much at the sky as at the earth, since the sky is where light and air work their alchemical changes on each other.
Inspired by inner experiences, Joanna’s abstractions and semi-abstractions show a seemingly limitless variety of different colors and forms, which grow organically, one from another. In these paintings she explores themes which have concerned her since she was a student of philosophy at the University of Warsaw: the mystery of the World and Nature, particularly the elements, the seasons, the spiritual forces in nature and man’s relation to them. In these meditations viewers will find manifestations of the artist’s immediate moods and soul-experiences set against a vision of the relation between the divine and the human, in which only a very thin veil separates the visible and invisible worlds. Some meditations are directed at nature, incorporating the elements, the season, and nature-spirits, as expressed in various indigenous cultures, while others are more purely spiritual, ensouling visions of the divine feminine and esoteric Christianity.
Another reoccurring theme of Joanna’s paintings is the Mandala — Mandala as sacred representation of the World and Mandala as healing process.
Joanna’s paintings have been purchased by several American and European private collectors and institutions, and she has had several solo and group exhibitions in New York City and New England.