Joan Braun: Artist's Statement

Without knowing it or being able to name it, I realize now, looking back, that I have always had an idiosyncratic, Buddhist, wabi sabi outlook in both art making and life.

Buddhist in that the world has always seemed, since I was a child, not quite "real", more like a dream, which I imagined I might wake up from. I knew it was real and unreal at the same time, and nevertheless functioned in it.

[I do love samsara; I would not mind being reborn many times, though I have no idea what happens when we walk through the next portal. I do not see escape from all personal suffering as my goal, and carry a long and wide world view, from the first explosions that supposedly created the universe, to the creation of animals and plants, through the Paleolithic, to the present. What is seen through the microscope, the telescope, and the naked eye, it's all good, a balance of the awful and the glorious.]

Wabi sabi in that my world view is intuitive, proceeding from no theories or arguments. My working method starts from a blank slate, with no idea what the result will be until it appears, a total surprise to me. Materials are serendipitous, and idiosyncratic solutions present themselves. The materials are natural and everyday, often from the home domain, involving thread, ironing, using the product of degradation and attrition. Corrosion and contamination make its expression richer.

It is comfortable with ambiguity and contradiction, subtle color and gradations, often more sculptural than painterly. I have little interest in "what's in", though it naturally one reflects the zeitgeist of one's time.

My work is primarily expressed in the private domain, among friends, in group shows, and then again, outdoors, on billboards, in the public marketplace of street theater. Private, and at the same time, very political, the word coming from the Greek polis, meaning simply the community of people..  one's city, the state, citizens.  As I. F. Stone said “"And uh, it's too small a planet, it grows smaller all the time, it grows, it grows smaller all the time ... in terms of travel time ... we are becoming one family, we share each other's culture and poetry and philosophy ... and. uh, we have to begin to think of ourselves as a family ... we have to begin, we have to begin, we have to begin to think of ourselves as a family ... we have to begin to enjoy the differences in the human family. ... like... in a garden of flowers ... we are becoming one family ... "

Joan Rachelsdaughter [Joan Braun]