Home… both the inner and outer dimensions of it… is a theme apparent in Joan Baldwin’s work. There is furniture, familiar walking paths, strangers’ temporary abodes. It is not where one lives but where one might travel through. As a viewer, it is easy to imagine yourself nesting into these beautiful places.
While it is easy to see nature as an inspiration in much of her work, it is important to look more closely and see the human emotions the inanimate objects might be expressing. Sexual tension is present in many of the images; chairs are at odds with one another or are they being kind. While examining the work, one’s own emotions may come into play. In all these seemingly serene images, there is darkness and sometimes humor. Much is being communicated when the viewer is willing and takes the time to listen.
Baldwin grew up in Cleveland Heights OH. While the diligence of her mother and congeniality of her father had the appearance of normalcy, there were issues and family dramas, chaos and confusion. Baldwin used drawing to express her feelings since her words would not have been heard.
Following others expectations, she studied math at Purdue University. Out of her family’s shadow, Baldwin finally understood that those expectations were not her own and she switched to an art major. She continued her art education with courses in Charlotte NC, London and Milan. Upon moving to Boston, she took continuing educations courses at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Mass College of Art.
She has worked collaboratively on murals and interior finishes, as well as providing artwork for The Charlotte Observer as a newsroom artist. Baldwin’s love of drawing furniture is long standing and her craftsmanship was fine tuned as an illustrator for the furniture industry. Her drawing skills are apparent in the exceptional execution of her images.
The paintings and pastels of award-winning artist Joan Baldwin have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and cultural centers, including the Somerville Museum, the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Brandeis University and four solo shows at the Kingston Gallery in Boston. Her studio is at River Street Artists in Waltham, part of Waltham Mills Artists Association.
“It takes some emotional bravery for me to put these paintings out there,” says Baldwin. “I appear different from what is really going on in my mind. The same is true of my artwork.”