See all Grant & Fellowship Recipients

Joyce Garner

2021 Kentucky Fellow

Joyce Garner

Recipient Information


Prospect, Kentucky



Year of Award


Grant or Fellowship

Southern Prize and State Fellowships

Grant Amount


Artist Biography

Kentucky painter Joyce Garner (b. 1947, Covington, KY) has had solo shows at the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center (IN) (upcoming); the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art (KY); the Carnegie (KY); Indiana University Southeast; the University of Evansville Melvin Peterson Gallery; the Archabbey Library Gallery at St. Meinrad; Germantown Performing Arts Centre (TN); Krempp Gallery of Jasper Arts Center (IN); the Gateway Regional Art Center (KY); Oakland City University (IN); the Headley-Whitney Museum (KY); and various galleries in Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. She earned a B.S. from the University of Kentucky.

Artist Statement

Wall-sized canvases let me explore the complexity of family through time. I was born in Kentucky and stayed on for family. Moving to the biggest city gave me arts community.

My paintings are filled with hopes, regrets, and wishes—about the past and the future. They are like an ancestry chart or family tree where each choice branches onward...emotional dialogues. The interactions are not just within a family but with a family history, which includes society at large and our natural world. Working big lets me paint novels rather than poems. But I’m an emotional artist rather than intellectual, and it comes out in the color.

I have an extended allegory of people coming together around a table. Helpful figures of speech: get everyone together around the table, turn the table, wait on tables, get a seat at the table, set the table, put something on the table (or take it off), table it for now, no room at the table, under the table. 

A painting might start with a circle for the table, and then I draw some chairs—empty. Then I get to seat a person. They might be young/old, shy/extrovert, sly/unknowing, a participant or a witness, involved or oblivious or dreaming. 

My intent for my work is that I love to sit in front of a piece in the mornings with a cup of hot tea in my hands, and let my mind go. I want art that gives me a place to go.