Jurist Glenn Kessler’s Remarks
at Martha Spak Gallery, Washington DC, March 2024
Washington Post, Sunday, June 4, 2023 “In the Galleries”
at Studio Gallery, Washington DC
“Less expected is the nearby ‘Morocco: Colors and Shapes,’ a set of small paintings by Joyce McCarten. These pictures are abstractions that weren’t merely inspired by the High Atlas Mountains, but actually incorporate pinches of the arid landscape.
McCarten took soil and rock’s from dry riverbeds, pulverized the materials with a mortar and pestle and combines the dust with acrylic medium. Painted on site, the paintings juxtapose tans and near black browns with vivid oranges.
The compositions don’t literally depict, yet strongly suggest the cliffs, rifts and outcroppings carved from rock over millennia. If these geological features can’t actually be seen in McCarten’s pictures, their presence is palpable.”
Written by Mark Jenkins
Washington Post, June 7, 2015
"When her replacement hip failed, Joyce McCarten didn’t curse her luck. Okay, maybe she did initially, but then the local artist turned to making the paintings and drawings that comprise “My Beautiful Bones.” The Studio Gallery show consists mostly of large oils in shades of gray and calcium-white, with several variations. Some pictures are more realistic than others, and a few feature a symbolic twist. In “Thriving,” for instance, the branches of a budding sapling grow through a bony matrix.
“Bones” also includes charcoal drawings in which white forms are set off against black backdrops, and paintings where the background is a brownish red — a reference, perhaps, to the role of bone marrow in the production of red blood cells. Even when the skeletal rhythm and symmetry are disrupted by the appearance of harsh metal appliances, there is no sense of violence here. Whatever McCarten’s inspiration, her intent is beauty."