Joan Giroux

Fall 2019 Artist in Residence

Image by Jacob Boll

Image by Jacob Boll

Joan Giroux is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, compassionate activist, and death acceptance advocate whose work frequently provides context for community and personal reflections on loss, absence, and bereavement through active play and participation. Joan has performed and exhibited her work in the US and abroad. Recent projects and venues include: eco monopolies: a Commons Artist Project, MCA Chicago (2018); Take Care, Weinberg/Newton Gallery (2017); and Ill at Ease: Dis-ease in Art, University of Buffalo (2017).

In 2000, Joan founded Compassionate Action Enterprises with Lisa Marie Kaftori to create art and interaction geared toward ecofeminism, environmental ethics, social, political, and cultural activism. Their filmic verse from there to here, from then to now extends CAE’s ongoing jasmine series into physical meanderings and cinematic wanderings and was presented in S.T.E.P., Saunter Trek Escort Parade at Flux Factory and Queens Museum, NY (2018).

Joan is a Professor in Columbia College Chicago’s Art and Art History Department, where she teaches courses in studio art, art activism, and professional practices. She earned an MFA at Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts low-residency interdisciplinary program, and a BFA from Parsons School of Design, and also studied Multi-Media | Experimental Sculpture at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin with Professor Shinkichi Tajiri.

Artist Statement:
The sense of something gone missing – lost, absent or misplaced – is a recurring theme in my work. The void may be a physical void, indicated by a visual absence or hole, or implied by a tenuous connection. The idea that our perceptions and experiences of the world are piecemeal –like a puzzle, parts are incomplete, fractured, or missing –interests me. My work ranges from discrete handmade objects, digital photo montage, printmaking, kinetic sculpture and installation to theatrical productions, social practice,and community engaged projects. I frequently seek to provide context for community and personal reflections on loss, absence, and bereavement through active play and participation. Over the past decades, I have investigated loss, healing, and building connections with major bodies of work created independently and in collaboration with other artists and the community.

The life review body of work is an overarching inquiry addressing loss, frailty, vulnerability, illness, death, and dying. Begun in 2008 after the death of my mother, the project seeks to make audible, visible tangible, and experiential states that are frequently masked and hidden from view. The eco monopolies series, begun in 2000, references the fragile protections we offer our environment and the tenuous shelter sit provides us in an increasingly economy-driven world.This work illustrates political games and the geographical, political, and prioritized values of our societies as countries, corporations, and individuals bargain for the right to “own.”

The ongoing jasmine series, created in collaboration with Lisa Marie Kaftori, suggests participatory actions and wanderings to encounter and re-imagine our quotidian environment through poetic means.Our recent work, the filmic verse from there to here, from then to now, chronicles our wanderings through landscapes affected and deeply marred by the Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.