About A Study of Objects

A Study of Objects is the studio of Jo Anne V. Coruña, a visual artist and a writer. Jo Anne paints objects and writes the stories they tell about who we are, where we are, and why we're here. A Study of Objects is an invitation to explore, to discover, and to learn. The work is driven by curiosity, yes, but more importantly, by empathy. A Study of Objects is an invitation to care -- about the world and the people in it, including ourselves. By paying attention to objects, however mundane, Jo Anne invites us to pause for a moment, mindfully consider what’s around us, and hopefully be reminded of what matters.

While there are objects that are manifestations of materialism, consumerism, and excess, there are objects that signify culture, that hold meaning, that tell stories. A Study of Objects is concerned with the latter.

An important aspect of A Study of Objects is the act of painting the various objects. Painting requires close scrutiny, focused attention, and sincere and sustained interest from the artist. While the artist reads, conducts interviews, and researches the featured objects, the act of painting itself gives the artist a more intimate and visceral experience of the objects, getting the chance to reflect on the stories and contexts that the objects embody. This translates to a richer body of knowledge and fuller pieces of work.

About the artist and writer

Jo Anne was born in the Philippines, where she grew up until, at the age of 16, she flew to Hong Kong to study at a United World College; it was in this foreign city, away from home, that she discovered her love for art. She did four more years of art in Maine (did not major in it though), and then she flew to San Francisco to be closer to family. A fulfilling life in the nonprofit field ensued and continued when she went back home to the Philippines after almost a decade of being away. She has become a wife, a mother, an Ashokan, and now, finally, a visual artist and a writer. It's been a circuitous journey to A Study of Objects, but the breadth and depth of all her past experiences inform and enrich Jo Anne's current work. 

A note from Jo Anne

Hello! Thank you for being here. I am Jo Anne and I am a visual artist and a writer. I created A Study of Objects in 2015, after rediscovering the joy of painting the things I see around me. It is not a celebration of materialism, but rather, it is an introspection, a reflection, and a search for meaning by looking at objects more thoughtfully and deeply. One of the most vivid memories I have from childhood is riding a jeepney (a public vehicle in the Philippines) with my mom when I was about seven or eight, and seeing a middle-aged man cross the street, carrying a white plastic bag in one hand and the rest of his things in another. It was just a white plastic bag, with its contents hidden by its opacity, but the man carried it like it was the most important thing in the world. And I wondered what was inside, and I imagined that it was dinner for his family, or a small cake for his kids. And I wondered some more, about his life, about what mattered to him, about love. All because I paid attention to the white plastic bag and how preciously the man regarded it. A simple object that made me think of the most important things in life. Now, I don't have a memory of drawing or painting when I was a kid, but I do have this memory of a white plastic bag and the path it took me on: that of curiosity and empathy. I think that is the origin story of the body of work that you see here. I suppose that is what I mean when I study objects: that I look with intention, I look to understand, and I look for the stories. A Study of Objects is more than a studio. It is a worthwhile pursuit, a natural disposition, a way to live a life. Welcome and I hope you enjoy looking around.

I would love to live right beside a forest someday.

I would love to live right beside a forest someday.