an artist you should know: Sarah Joncas

 After shirking my "Artist You Should Know" duties for a long time, I bring you Sarah Joncas, whose work falls under the pop surrealism category. Using oil and acrylic, she creates complex, multilayered images of women, evoking several emotions at once, while still retaining a unique stylization. Often her work encompasses several styles, including pin-up, classic portraiture and painting techniques, and graphic elements. Her work can be slightly uncomfortable, and she plays with the traditional ideas of portraiture, femininity and beauty. I currently follow her work on deviantART and Facebook.

So! Here's a small sample of her work. From the top:

After Dark. This moody portrait reminds me of the other, unseen side of a classic beauty queen, lying alone in a darkened room, still wearing her dress and pearls. It's a quiet, contemplative moment that may also be a little morbid. 

I Think I'm Paranoid. I love the bold, graphic patterning here, especially in contrast to the more delicate elements of the figure and the moths. I also like how it's worked into the figure, making it seem as though she's blending into, or emerging from, the wall behind her. It's ostensibly a cheerful pattern, but in this context it's jarring and frenetic, adding to the sense of nervousness. 


I Think, Therefore I Am. She reminds me very much of kitschy, '60s-style housewifey goth, like Morticia Addams, complete with little cartoon bat wings accompanying her lightbulb. Her apprehension is palpable.

It Became Courtney Love. According to the description on the dA page, this was originally intended to be a picture of Norse goddess Freya. But now it's Courtney Love. I kind of couldn't pass up the opportunity to have a picture of Courtney Love here, because I do appreciate her so, but I also like the vulnerability in the face. 

The All Seeing. This is one of Joncas' more overtly surrealistic pieces, sort of a mashup of mysticism and pin-up girls. I feel like there are many interpretations that could come out of this image, with the eyes looking very flat and painted on (which of course they are, but in two ways), the fact that the figure is covering her real eyes, and the confusion as to what, or whether, she can see.

The Crow Charmer. It's similar to The All Seeing in its mystical element, but this one seems more traditional, calling to mind nature deities and animal familiars. While the pin-up style is still very evident, there's less modernity in this one, and the figure seems more sure of herself, surveying her dark realm.