Joan Griswold was born in Oberlin, Ohio in 1954 and currently resides in Great Barrington. As a teenager, she spent four years studying in Kyoto with her family and enrolled at Beloit College in Wisconsin after her return to the United States. She took a drawing class in her sophomore year and with the encouragement of her art teacher, went on to graduate with a double major in Classics and Studio Art. She spent two months at the Paris American Academy in Paris, France, and then headed to New York City.
In New York, she worked as a colorist in a print center, and then managed the Broadway Frame Shop and Gallery for four years, but it wasn’t until she moved to rural England with her husband that she had the time to devote to the mastery of her art. Here, she says, “I taught myself to paint.” After settling in the Berkshires, with a studio on Main Street, she began exhibiting her work.
Ms. Griswold is known today for her richly colored and textured domestic scenes, as well as exterior architectural works. Bathed in golden light by day, and inviting warmth at night, these pieces evoke comfort, security and a sense of connection to place, while venerating everyday objects, furnishings and dwellings. Though typically without human forms, her “portraits without people” appear lived in, fresh with the imprint of someone who has just left. Rumpled sheets, a well-worn piano, personal papers or an open book on a desk all suggest a personal presence and an intimacy between artist and subject, conveyed to the viewer by way of invitation into private spaces.
Griswold contrasts an underlying, structured, geometric composition with spontaneous, freely expressive brushstrokes. Her compositions explore abstract elements within realistic settings, resulting in a still and spare “quiet elegance,” or “shibui” which she attributes to her early years in Japan.
Ms. Griswold is represented by Hoorn-Ashby in New York and Nantucket and the Marin Price Gallery in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and has been featured in solo exhibitions in New York, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. She has also participated in numerous group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad, including the 2002 True Colors: Meditations on the American Spirit exhibition, commencing in Washington, D.C. and traveling to Turkey and Egypt.
Her award-winning work has been featured on cover illustrations for several magazines and acclaimed by many publications including the New York Times.
She conducts weekly painting classes in Great Barrington for artists of all ages and abilities, and has served on the Boards of the Sheffield Land Trust, Sheffield Art League and the Sheffield Arts Council.
Oil on linen, 36" x 48," 1998
Joan Griswold’s homepage
Art and the River - Views and Visions of the Housatonic River - Featuring the artwork of Joan Griswold, Morgan Bulkeley Jr., Bart Elsbach and others, Art and the River promotes a renewed vision of the Housatonic River as an artistic and literary inspiration of national significance. Proceeds go to a collaborative project for Housatonic River improvement. Link from Housatonic River Summer - a celebration of the arts, culture and nature within the Housatonic Valley.
Community Access to the Arts - A non-profit arts organization, CATA provides over 1,000 visual and performing arts workshops for hundreds of individuals with physical and/or developmental disabilities. Joan Griswold recently served as a guest curator for the I AM A PART OF ART: Annual Art Exhibition at CATA Gallery in Great Barrington
Housatonic Valley Art League (formerly the Sheffield Art League) - resources for the arts and art lovers in the Berkshires
Sheffield Land Trust - dedicated to protecting the land essential to Sheffield's natural, scenic, rural and agricultural character through a program of stewardship and by working with landowners, farmers and other partners
ART; Reverence for van Gogh, a Way With Light - New York Times article, August 20, 1995 by Vivien Raynor - Review of Griswold’s show at Paris-New York-Kent Gallery
American Artist Magazine, feature story, May 1993
Geheran Group Art for Decor - Joan Griswold page