Laville's only formal art training took place at the Instituto Allende, where she studied from 1956 to 1958. After completing school, Laville experimented in several artistic styles of the 20th century before settling into her own. She has exhibited her work in various cities in Mexico as well as New York, New Orleans, Dallas, Washington, Toronto, Paris, London and Barcelona.
Her evocative work—reflective memory suspended in time—belies its depth. Laville works zealously and has presented twenty-one individual shows in twenty years, in Mexico, Europe, and the United States. During the spring of 2004, Joy Laville was honored with a retrospective exhibition at Mexico City's Museo de Arte Moderno. The retrospective, curated by Santiago Espinosa de los Monteros, brought together works from more than four decades and represented Joy Laville's unique and continuing contribution to contemporary Mexican art.