July 21, 2019
Artist: Judy Perry
Medium: Watercolor, pastel, pencil, gesso and charcoal on paper
“All of these lines across my face, Tell you the story of who I am, So many stories of where I've been, And how I got to where I am” – Brandi Carlile
Emotion ripples through Judy Perry’s work as she prepares for a solo exhibition at “Mercy by the Sea” in Madison, CT, opening September 21. My first experiences with Judy’s work were waterscapes, dominated by cascading waves in pastel, watercolor, or sometimes both. By just looking at the work, I could see her connection to the subject matter came with an indescribable intensity. The combination of loose but methodical strokes forced me to linger on the surface, marveling at the waterscapes sculpted in pigment. She is what I would call a sculptor trapped in a painter’s body. The fluidity between mediums is effortless as if the need to describe the subject matter is the true priority. This push and pull is constant throughout Judy’s practice, creating tension and emotion in her work. For example, her upcoming show is not just waterscapes, but will also include many portraits of women spanning all walks of life.
But what do waterscapes and portraits of women have in common? It’s not a simple answer, but if you go to her talk on September 29 she intends to speak to just that. Judy’s ideas have been with her for a long time. After a harrowing accident, she was forced to rebuild many aspects of her life, including her career as an artist. Her identity was being challenged, but instead of shying away from what was once a comfortable space, she turned to art as a way to heal, nurture, and build her life back. Starting small, and with the passage of time, her art found a renewed sense of purpose.
What struck me most, and why I was interested in sitting down with Judy, was her unique vision for portraiture. Emerging out of these watery almost dreamlike surfaces, faces come into clarity but before you’re able to get any context for their surroundings they fade away into the background. These every day, natural women appear to be lost in thought, gazing with intensity out onto the world beyond the picture frame. Their purpose is left up to the viewers interpretation with vague or sometimes nonexistent titles just as Judy wanted them. It’s for the viewer to take the leap and make the connection if they choose. Healing is an essential part of what humans do, but it often takes many people touching our lives and the support of Mother Earth. If you want to join Judy on this path, please go see her work, up soon, and let the colors wash over you.
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