The Reverend Joyce McDonald, a multi-disciplinary artist and activist, began working with clay in the 1990s and was ordained as a minister in 2009. In her sculptural works, she enshrines her own personal narratives: living with HIV since 1985 and wider cultural experiences of family, love, loss, illness, healing, transformation, and transcendence. McDonald is a long-standing Visual AIDS artist member.
McDonald works with both glazed ceramics and air dry clay, often detailing her figurative sculptures with materials at hand including acrylic paint, wite-out, markers, glitter, fabric, false eye lashes, and beads. Made at an intimate handmade scale, the works in the exhibition take the form of busts, vessel-like ceramic sculptures, grouped and individual figures, and wall-based reliefs.
Often memorialising events in McDonald’s own life as well as the world more broadly, recent sculptures are shown alongside others made during the 1990s. Together, they mark both personal and collective paths, honouring the pursuit of social justice and commemorating lives lost to systemic racism and police violence.
Reverend Joyce McDonald (b. 1951, Brooklyn, New York, USA) lives and works in New York. McDonald presented a solo exhibition at Gordon Robichaux, New York, USA (2021) and her work has been featured in numerous group shows including outer view, inner world, Maureen Paley: Morena di Luna, Hove, UK (2023); Marc Selwyn Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (2020); Parker Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (2020); Souls Grown Diaspora (curated by Sam Gordon), apexart, New York, USA (2020); AIDS at Home: Art and Everyday Activism, Museum of the City of New York, USA (2017); Everyday, La MaMa Galleria, New York, USA (2016); Persons of Interest (curated by Sam Gordon), Bureau of General Services–Queer Division, New York, USA (2016).
McDonald’s work has been celebrated in The New York Times on two occasions, and her work is held in the collections of institutions including Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA; Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, USA.