“ The [ frame is altered ] when artworks are read as essentially open , as allowing the works to explode into changing and even competing meanings as contexts and horizons of interpretation alter what one sees as embodied within them .”
- Lydia Goehr , “ At the Still Point of the Turning World — Figuring Out Figurative Art , Contemporary Philosophers and Contemporary Paintings ,” Routledge , 2015
bstract Topophilia™ is artist Ben Joyce ’ s ascribed term for love of place . Love of place is the bud from which his art blooms . It won ’ t take you long when Googling Ben , to find a write-up or a video of him describing the eureka moment that planted the original seed .
Ben experienced an awakening during a Gonzaga University travel semester to Florence , Italy . Surrounded by the full experience of smells , sounds , and scene after scene , Ben realized “ It would take a houseful of rooms to capture the images from this one experience .” He yearned for a way to create a landscape through which one could travel to a particular place without being restricted by a single perspective . After graduating with his art degree from Gonzaga and moving to San Diego for a period , working in computers , he gave in to the promptings of his wife , Erin , to return to Spokane , her hometown . With her support and encouragement , he devoted himself to his craft full time .
After years of educating himself and practicing his craft , and experiencing a certain level of success as an artist , Ben found himself lying awake one night , staring at the strange angles of the ceiling in his Spokane bedroom . In this quiet moment Ben visualized a new way to possibly fulfill that awakening he experienced in Florence , to capture a location beyond the single image . He visualized his “ place ” at that moment from above and viscerally responded to the idea of a topographical representation of one ’ s love of place . If you ’ d like to learn about this moment in Ben ’ s own words , please scan the QR code at the end of this article for a short video from our interview .
Ben has transformed his work since that epiphanal moment . His works of places that hold deep memories or moments of significance in his life and others tempt one to travel down their own memory lane replete with imagery , smells , landmarks , and emotions . I found myself reflecting on the Bitterroot Valley in Montana , where I grew up , and Spokane where my husband was born and raised and where we have raised our family . Both areas hold very strong associations and identifiable topography .
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