Credit: Chirsotpher McLeod
Jody Joseph was born in Chicago, and loved drawing and art, even at a young age. That encouraged her parents to enrol her in formal studies with a local professional artist, Joan Taxay Weinger. Regular visits to The Art Institute of Chicago followed. Monet’s Haystack paintings, Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grand Jette, Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, and especially Matisse’s Woman before an Aquarium were early fixations. A Giacometti exhibition made a particularly strong impression on the young artist and led to an intense attachment to later Modernist painters and sculptors, including the Abstract Expressionists.
Like many painters, Joseph’s road took some detours—career-wise and geographic-- before she became the established Canadian-American artist, art instructor and curator she is today. First came a short career in the law in San Francisco. Leaving that for painting, Joseph actually joined a surprisingly long list of “lawyers turned artists” among them Cezanne, another Joseph favourite artist and influence.
Joseph’s return to painting occurred in the 1990s when she began studies in Italy with the Italian-American Modernist painter, Nicolas Carone, himself a former student of Hans Hoffman. Carone later a co-founded the New York Studio School, and his own school in Umbria. Both emphasized intensive work in one’s studio and learning to draw and paint from observation. Italy gave Joseph the opportunity to study with many brilliant painters, Wayne Thiebaud, Andrew Forge and Jake Bertot among them. In later years, Joseph was invited to establish and direct a satellite school, and then began teaching regularly in Italy herself.
Joseph’s work in Italy became the foundation of her painting and teaching. Years outside in the Umbrian landscape made her a dedicated plein air painter and forms a large part of her practice today. Marrying a Canadian astronomer, Doug Welch of McMaster University, brought Joseph to the Hamilton area. The family ultimately settled in Dundas, whose century homes and tree-filled neighbourhoods are frequent subjects of Joseph’s paintings. Like the painters she loves, Joseph also works in the studio, from observation and abstractly.
After a solo show at Dundas’ Carnegie Gallery in 1995, Joseph was invited to teach at the Dundas Valley School Art. She remains a sought-after instructor there.
Joseph has had over 30 solo exhibitions and numerous group shows, in Canada, the US and Italy. She also has an active curatorial practice and has been the recipient of a number of grants.
"I see paintings everywhere—and not just paintings of things. A certain kind of light will turn me on, a colour, a shape, a set of relationships, the space between things, a worn billboard, a pattern in a shadow. The world is full of visual amazements!
I also go see lots of art, and never tire of looking at my large collection of art books. I develop relationships with painters I love by making quotations from their great paintings. And as I learned from my former teacher, Angelo Ippolito, if I have a bad day in the studio, I make sure to make myself a great dinner! Some consolation helps get the creative juices flowing for the next day. "