Anderson Turner

Contemplating the infinite intuitively feels like a role for the arts. Where else outside of a religious venue, a scenic vista or a major life moment do we consider our roles in the universe and some of its deeper meanings?

Often, artists are met with resistance to their vision, either by an unwilling audience or by their messages being misinterpreted. It is a difficult place for an artist to find himself or herself in, pushing or sharing abstract imagery that if contemplated enough conjures up images of Buddhist sand painting or the artistry of a bonsai tree.

It is just this type of contemplation that the work of artist Andrea Joki brings out of the viewer. This ďtranscendentalĒ experience is not necessarily her goal. However, the deep layers and sense of movement her work often has, along with the multiple shapes, patterns and hard lines, remind one of textures that can be natural and man-made. That blurred line evokes contemplation just by its very style and nature.

The majority of Jokiís current body of work is on view at the William Busta Gallery in Cleveland through the end of July. Itís well worth your time to make the trip up to the gallery if you havenít already been there. Also, itís worth it because the gallery is closing at the end of July.

Busta has spent decades working for the visual arts in Cleveland and promoting many of the regionís top art makers. He states on his website: ďThe gallery has always been as much about Cleveland as it has been about art. We believe that the things we create are documents of the time and place in which we live; that the things we create have their highest expression in our arts; and that our arts are created in dialogue with the past and are our voice to the future.Ē

His career has been deeply meaningful for artists, curators and visual art patrons throughout the region. This summer gives us an opportunity to thank him for his efforts at helping to keep the ďgallery/visual art ball up in the air.Ē

It seems appropriate then Joki would have one of the final exhibits in the gallery. Her work has a sense of movement through time and space that is special and speaks to her thoughtfulness, patience and talent.

Joki often references things like static in her pieces. Indeed, one of the paintings in the show is titled Static, and not only features multiple layers of gestural color, but also diagonal white and black lines that are not too hard-edged, but enough so to add something like a mechanical shroud over the work and force the viewer to imagine looking at the painting through some type of screen.

My Own Personal Miracle also has layers of gestural color, as well as a layer of black and white dashes that have a feeling of some kind of industrial map, insects or a herd of animals. All of this again is covered in diagonal lines of white paint.

These works have a shared look to them. They also have something else in common ó they hum. Of course not literally, but if color, imagery and the impact of the artistís vision and paint on a surface could hum, these would. If you donít understand what I mean, stand in front of them a while and blur your vision. Take a moment to sing to yourself while you do this and the vibrancy of the painting will sing back to you in some form or another, if you open yourself to the experience.

Joki has recently started working more in video and photography. She is a fan of traveling to different locations to help inform her artwork. Interestingly, if you have the opportunity to see some of her video work, it also has a sense of layered static that is unusual and reminds you of her paintings.

In Lite Brite Letdown 1, Joki has used something like a pallet knife or squeegee to spread layers of color into a pattern that looks very much like an image of sound coming out of a speaker. She has then taken traces of color, mostly red and white, and projected them out of work like sparks of electricity from a Tesla coil. Like her other paintings, this piece also emits its own sound, though in some ways it feels as though it might be breaking free of the constraints her larger works have placed on them.

Itís not often you find abstract painting that evokes a transcendental, almost emotional response. Itís hard for the formation of colors into a pattern to connect to people that way. However, the painting of Andrea Joki does just that.

Itís exciting to have this moment in time to view an artist at a point of discovery in her own work and in the professional world that appears to be coming together at the same time to help propel her into the future. Itís moments like this that are special and donít happen often enough.

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