Joan Ladendorf - Common Threads

Mar 3rd–Apr 13th 2024

“Common Threads”, a new exhibition by artist Joan Ladendorf, is now open in the Elmhurst Artists’ Guild Gallery at the Elmhurst Art Museum. Joan’s work was featured in March of 2019 in the same gallery in a retrospective show titled “Collections”. Her new show will feature only work created since then. Joan calls her current artwork style “Digital Photo Collage”. Her unique creations are assembled from bits and pieces of photos she has taken. For additional interest and texture, she creates hand-painted and hand-altered recycled papers which are scanned and incorporated in the compositions. Shapes are drawn with the computer mouse, sections of the papers and photos are chosen, and all are combined in Photoshop in a collage style, with added dimensional effects.

Joan’s creative path has meandered through a variety of media. With no formal art training, she has worked in theatre costume design, graphic design, art quilts, fabric compositions, paper collage, darkroom photography, and now digital photography. She roams local sites, searching for textures, colors, patterns, landscapes, and other ingredients to photograph and use in her assemblages. Although the end results are eclectic, there is always a “common thread” with all of Joan’s art that makes it diverse but connected.

This show will showcase these digital collages, from representational to abstract, many of them presented as photographic prints mounted on wood panels. Wanting to “go big”, she has created larger digital collage pieces printed on fabric and enhanced with free-motion machine quilting and hand embroidery, a throwback to her earlier art quilting days. There will be a few fabric pieces that feature multiple exposure photographic images, an intriguing new technique Joan is tinkering with in Photoshop.

This exhibition features multi-panel works that include platforms with rocks, and one with plexiglass “water”. She will be debuting a fun new interactive piece called “Create-a-Woman” with 16 mix-and-match women, each divided into three parts capable of being rearranged. The women have advice to share as well, making for entertaining commentary when mixed up. All work will be for sale, including a selection of smaller pieces that do not need to stay for the duration of the show.

An opening reception is planned for Friday, March 8, 2024 from 7-9pm with beverages, appetizers and desserts provided. The Guild Gallery is always free to enter, but paid admission is required to access the Museum exhibits.