The Art of Fusion: Paintings by American artist Joanne Miller Rafferty
October 30, 2023
by Leeza Arkhangelskaya – Owner – East West Fine Art
November 2023 Issue of Old Naples News
Joanne Miller Rafferty’s artworks hold a very special place in the contemporary art scene. Her paintings are so different from anything else; that it is difficult to determine their style.
Most critics refer to her works as abstract landscapes: a remarkable fusion of European and Asian landscape of contemporary and medieval. Sometimes serene and vast, sometimes intense, and moody –Joanne’s landscapes never fail to evoke strong emotions from the viewer.
Rafferty has a true sensitivity to and adoration of nature in its most wild and untouched form. She can completely immerse herself into the enigmatic beauty of ocean shores, pathless woods, and foggy marshes. This gift elevates her works to the level of famous Chinese traditional landscape paintings yet distinguishes them as modern and original.
Joanne Rafferty pays homage to Chinese landscapes though the meaning and stylization of her works. The artistic approach that she uses adds to the originality and contemporary feeling of her paintings. Her mixed media technique employs a large array of materials, including fibers, handmade paper, decoupage, and uniquely mixed glazes.
The inspiration of the wildlife artist is reminiscent of wild streams rushing, a powerful chaos of free nature that does not want to obey. There is a sense of that controlled chaos in Joanne’s artwork, and in the confident use of various materials. Chaos and primordial matter are her ideals.
Chinese medieval wildlife artists climbed to mountain heights to join the spiritual current. This is where they felt a surge of creative inspiration, experienced a sense of spiritual purification – the fusion of the human personality with the wild. They revered the paintings of nature because they perceived them to be a visible manifestation of the innermost human spirit.
The art of Joanne Rafferty, like paintings of medieval Chinese landscape artists, can be compared to the work of the wilderness itself. In both cases, freedom, inspiration, and the natural state are valued. However, this appreciation is only accessible to people of high moral qualities, those who know, feel and respect nature.
Connoisseurs of Chinese painting distinguish more than 30 configurations of mountains, about 20 states of waters, many varieties of trees and clouds. This is also true of Joanne Rafferty’s artworks. Old Chinese wildlife artists believed that the waterfall was a symbol of the meeting of Heaven and Earth. One can see the same idea in Joann Rafferty’s painting “Bordered by Love”. The work expresses the unity of being and non-being. Clouds bind mountains and rivers together.
For Joann Rafferty wildlife exists on its own, not to express human experiences. Old Chinese saying write that nature is like another heaven and another earth, there is nothing human in them…
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