Curator Gallery Opening: Judith Meyers Olinsky featured at Gallery425 in February

A statement from the artist:

I am a self-taught painter, which I think accounts for the oddity/uniqueness of my style. I wish I knew why I want to paint. Since I am always wanting to have more talent or magic, painting becomes such a difficult process for me. It seems I’m mostly a portrait painter with a still evolving style.  The way I want to paint is somewhere between Alice Neel and Larry Rivers, with a touch of Francesco Clemente and I keep pushing forward in hopes of developing a consistent style of my own.

I have a friend who paints the Goddess and the Earth Mother. When I looked at my friend’s work about feminine strength, I realized that part of what I have been painting is the soft vulnerable under belly of the feminine principle. Most of my work seems to be exploring the boundaries and the demands of the role of being a woman; from the beginning of time, from my grandmother’s generation to my own. I don’t have a daughter so I can only speak of the current generation from the vantage point of my experience. I am seeking to a have a clear sense of the lines between being a woman and a self.

I come out of the I950’s ethnic, working-class, patriarchal definitions of gender roles. I didn’t start out thinking about feminist issues, but it seems to me as a woman who lived through the second wave of feminism, I didn’t have much choice. I lived through a time that  questioned gender identity. Gender role confusion was what was on my mind. Without realizing it at first, I have been using art  to explore the issue of identity and of gender.

In addition to trying to find out what it means to be a self, I am trying to fit that self into the body of a woman. Or, maybe, I have been trying to find out what it means to become a self in the body of a woman.

I do agree with Picasso, when he said “Painting isn’t an aesthetic operation; it’s a form of magic designed as a mediation between this strange hostile world and us, a way of giving form to our terrors as well as our desires.”

As to the themes of my overall subject matter, it appears part of what I am doing is I am creating a visual diary in the tradition of Frieda Kahlo and Joan Brown.  For me, all time exists at the same time, and I keep moving back and forth in time from now to childhood, to the previous generations, to the ancient world, trying to see or to make sense of life…of my life.   I like what Faulkner says about time when he says “the past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past.” When I paint, time doesn’t matter. Space doesn’t seem to matter to me either. For me sometimes the inside, is outside, and the outside is inside. The outer world and my inner world bleed back and forth. On my canvases, matter, psyche and spirit all exist at the same time, in varying ratios and on shifting planes. In painting and in life I find that it is always hard to find a place to put things, even parts of myself.

What keeps me going is the hope that my painting will someday come close to what Clement Greenberg expressed about Milton Avery when he said, “His paintings show once again how relatively indifferent the means of art becomes when force of feeling takes over.”

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Baby Girl Chair Dancing to the Grateful Dead