© 2014 by Joan Maureen Collins. Art at Black Mountain

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 featured exhibition 

URBAN ETHOS Runs April 2019

You are invited to the opening Friday April 5, 2019 from 6-9PM at the

Olney Gallery, 

100 W. Roosevelt Street
Phoenix, AZ 85003


Statement about this body of work


Urban Ethos is inspired by a move I made last year. I took a leap from a little rural haven at the foot of Black Mountain and landed in an urban loft.


I wasn’t sure how the shift would affect my art. For 16 years, nature was my muse. Then I felt a flicker of inspiration. It was the whir of a red helicopter’s blade casting long shadows as it landed on a rooftop across the street. This is captured in “Whirred in the Misty Air.” After that, acrylics have flowed onto the canvas right up to this show.


“Unsurfaced City” is the cornerstone of the collection. The very large 48x72 piece was the first one I painted after moving. It captures a new urban vibe anchored by left-behind, natural elements in the center.


My eyes can’t keep up with the visual shifts of this dynamic environment. It’s thrilling as an artist. The pixels in the frame change constantly. You might see this change in a new and expansive color palette. I’ve also incorporated angled planes, springs and loops like wire and metal fittings, and blocks of cascading industrial rooftops into my new work. I’ve dropped in hints of florescent green, orange, and blue paint strokes that dangle like the cranes sculpting my new neighborhood. I enjoyed reimagining exposed siding on a building construction site in blocks of vibrant hues of violet, blue and red.


Living on a top floor, the sky has become ever present in my daily life. Watching it shift and change throughout the day could be an entire collection on it’s own. So a few of these are in this series. I found myself sneaking away from the hard lines of this series and creating soft, visual respites. I was inspired by city gardens and waterfronts I’ve found moments of peace visiting. These references are from Portland to NYC, Galway to Paris, and Florence to Istanbul. I also painted the rain. I wanted to represent how the rain washes away the dust grime of a city.


Lastly, sometimes you need more than imagery to tell your story. I ended this run with a collection of small vignettes that include phrases that capture the essence of my transition.