I enjoy meeting new artists and seeing (new to me) work. A friend of mine with excellent aesthetic sensibilities introduced me to the work of sculptor Judy Fox.
Mesmerized? Haunted? Blown away? Spent hours listening to her lecture on Youtube? Oh yeah.
Much of her work features children in poses that envoke iconic images from around the world. A toddler as the Virgin Mary, for example. Fox has her graduate degree in art history (like me!) and pulls imagery from her studies. The figures are realistic, but not photo-realistic. They are real in the same way a Renaissance oil painting are real. They represent something larger than just children in quirky poses.
From the design of each work to the careful attention to anatomy and individuality, her skill is unsurpassed. She models each of the pieces in ceramic clay and builds the figure as the clay begins to harden. It’s remarkable that she makes it work. I’m wondering, though, in honing this skill, how many have caved it. I know that if I tried this technique, I’d have some serious kiln explosions. Or some pre-kiln sculpture cave-ins. I tend to work a lot with a mallet. I’m a little too rough for this sort of technique. (See how she does it.)
I really respond to her use of classical imagery, traditional form, but a totally novel approach to arrangement of the figures and the uneasy, but not creepy, use of nude children. This is contemporary art at it’s very best.