‘Art was her life’ – Holter exhibition features the work of artist Sara Joyce | Local

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Meet “Miss Wren” in her chasuble and turquoise bonnet,

‘Lothar the Protector’, a flexible half-body sculpture in black fabric, and ‘Saint Veronica’, which emerges from the canvas in cheerful pinks and purples.

These are just a few of the dream characters in a new exhibit, “Am I Dreaming It or Is It Dreaming Me?” – A retrospective of the works of Sara Joyce.

It is open in the Holter Museum of Art Baucus Gallery and runs until April 18.

Joyce is considered one of Idaho’s “most original and inspired contemporary artists” by fellow artists.

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She didn’t start painting until she was 36, but has produced a large volume of work over six decades.

She has created over 3,000 entries in over 27 exercise books, sketchbooks, ledgers and handmade books, which have inspired over 370 major works.

Sara Joyce is considered one of Idaho’s “most original and inspired contemporary artists” by her fellow artists.

Courtesy picture

Her medium could be acrylic or oil paint, marker, charcoal, pencil, pencil, pen or sewing.

Given the volume of her work, one could erroneously conclude that this woman never slept.

But sleeping and dreaming were integral to Joyce’s creative process.

“Much of his development as an artist came from his daily practice of recording dream memories each morning in his elegant cursive, alongside sketches of dream images,” according to a University article. of the Idaho Prichard Art Gallery, which exhibited his work.

Some of the ideas became drawings, paintings, and sculptures in fabric and clay.

Brilliant colorist, she often started a job only with color.

Sometimes she would simply add color to a canvas for days or weeks before a shape began to take shape, preferring to mix her colors on the canvas rather than the palette.

Life and dreams inspired his art.

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“It was a really traumatic childhood,” said her youngest son Bill Caccia, who helped set up the show in early January.

Born in 1923 and raised during the Great Depression, she traveled with her parents in search of work in the South West.

His family was always on the move.

She recalls terrifying experiences she had with scorpions, monsters and Gila snakes as a child in the desert.

At 14, she became a home helper.

It turned out to be a blessing, Caccia said. Joyce was able to go to school and graduate from high school. And her employer taught her cooking, baking and sewing – skills she loved and incorporated throughout her artistic life.

“When I think of his art, it was a conscious quest based on unconscious experiences,” he said.

Even his name comes from a traumatic childhood experience.

She was born Joyce Marjorie Allen. At age 10, she helped her father deliver her twin sisters. One was stillborn. And in one of her journals she writes that the body is lying in a shoebox covered with a handkerchief.


“Untitled Cloud Gazing” by Sara Joyce

As an adult, she took her deceased sister’s name and rearranged it, becoming Sara Josephine Joyce.

She believed that “souls that die at birth live in someone else,” Caccia said.

“Although she was not formally educated, she was very self-taught.”

As an adult, Joyce studied anthropology, archaeology, studio art, art history, astronomy, literature, linguistics, and prehistoric arts and cultures. She was particularly drawn to Jungian psychology and the exploration of dreams, mythology, symbols and archetypes.

“Carl Jung was a huge influence on her,” Caccia said.

“His awareness was global,” said his friend Pocatello, Idaho artist Margo Proksa, in a Prichard Gallery post. “She scanned the planet for inspiration and education.”

Caccia recalled that her mother was a voracious reader, subscribed to 17 magazines on everything from architecture to anthropology to science.

“Someone Unknown” by Sara Joyce. Joyce did not begin painting until the age of 36, but produced a large volume of work over six decades.

Courtesy picture

“She could talk with just about anyone,” he said, because they could always find a common interest.

But it was part of his life.

She earned her income by renovating Victorian houses.

She also baked beautiful artistic breads daily, did yoga, took walks, gardened, and raised goats and chickens.

She also raised three children, sewed her own clothes, and usually had several different art studios – keeping a separate studio for each medium.

“She was constantly working. His work was his art,” Caccia said. “Art was his life.”

At night or in the morning, she drew and wrote in her dream journals, which inspired her art. Copies of his diaries are available in the gallery to read and explore.

Among them, we will find some of his reflections.

She wrote quotes that inspired her, such as “Artistic creativity needs audacity, imagination and playfulness” by Pablo Picasso.

And she wrote her own thoughts.

“In art and other laudable endeavors there is always the ‘desperation’ factor before the path comes – from formlessness to form.”

And, “a special feeling of fear and fearlessness, fear and longing, they meet in every important event.”

Caccia recalled that she kept her art private – even from her children. She did not invite them back to her studio to see the work in progress.

Showing her work didn’t make sense to her, he said. She considered it flawed and refused to sell it in galleries. She only allowed her work to be released a few years before her death in 2011.

“People tried to categorize her,” Caccia said. In the 1990s, she was called an “outside artist,” a label that offended her.

Sara Joyce’s medium can be acrylic or oil paint, marker, charcoal, pencil, crayon, pen, or sewing. This piece is called “Elle attends”.

Courtesy picture

She called herself a “sophisticated artist”, adding “I’m very knowledgeable about art in my own way and through my own processes”.

She felt lucky that while creating art she didn’t answer to anyone. “She could just create however she wanted.”

“Sara said that every thought has a molecule that goes with it,” Caccia said. “Sara thought all objects had an aura. She tried to capture that.

He thinks Joyce would have hoped that “when people see his art, it calls for a response”.

Bill Caccia will give a public talk about his mother’s work at 6 p.m. on April 14.

The Holter is at 12 E. Lawrence St., www.holtermuseum.org, 406-442-6400.

About Margaret L. Portillo

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