Artist Joelle Ford presents her works to students in a gallery titled “Inherent Value”. She attended an artists’ reception held at Baker’s Holt Russel Art Gallery on September 30.
The Texas and Louisiana native first brought her passions to Lawrence, Kansas, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1999 from the University of Kansas. Ford incorporates into his works materials that are neglected or discarded. One of her pieces was made from parts from a dollhouse she had made for her nieces. She also worked with old files, diaries and other paper documents found around her house.
Ford spoke to those who attended the showcase, sharing parts of her life that inspired most of her work. One of his sculptures titled “She Has Thoughts But Cannot Speak” was inspired by Ford’s mother, who had complications with brain tumors. The sculpture depicts a woman’s head surrounded by a wooden box, where springs and coils burst through the top of the box, representing the difficulty of speaking freely.
“My mother had a lot to say. She wanted to say and do so many things, but the words would never come out,” Ford said. “That became the reason and the format of this piece.”
Ford also opened up about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected her as an artist.
“It impacted me and my artistic side,” Ford said. “At the start of COVID, I was unable to collect materials for most of my projects. Ordering online was difficult, but it was my only option. I never stopped creating, I just had to adjust my way of creating.
Ford wanted to explore beyond the idea of simple paintings. She brings to life things that are usually looked at, forgotten or thrown away. Some of his works consist of materials such as paint can lids, old door hinges and cereal boxes.
“A lot of my material is stuff you don’t usually notice. But everything has value in some way,” Ford said.
Dr. Nicholaus Pumphrey, an associate professor of religious studies, admired Ford’s creativity as he browsed the gallery.
“She is very nice. I mean a lot of those things you would see on the street or in a garage. Very creative,” Pumphrey said.
The gallery will be open to the public until October 30.