Finding Inspiration from Other Artists

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.

Judy Fox
Rapunzel 1999, Terra cotta, casein paint, 56 x 27 x 17 inches

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.

What do you think about Judy Fox’s work?

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3 Comments

  1. Cindy Marsch on June 27, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Just watched the YouTube Salzburg lecture — fascinating. I’d love to see the sea creatures work she was in-process with at the time (2011). The work IS a bit disturbing to me (the “worms” as well as the children), but I really “get” the idea about the ideals of feminine beauty in different cultures shown in those four pieces, and the ideas of power, too. I hope she misspoke a few times as she confused names and that she’s not REALLY confused about Eve and Mary, etc. I like to have the meaning associated with the stories, and if the artist really is confused about Shiva and Vishnu, or Snow White’s mother/stepmother, I feel like the rug is being pulled out from under me.

  2. hempelstudios on June 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I’m so glad you watched the video! Fascinating! Yes, her work IS disturbing, but so visually rich and interesting. I’ll have to watch it again and I DO hope she just slipped up on the names. Sometimes folks do that when their thoughts move faster than their mouths. As an art historian, I sure hope so. And if she didn’t, it would be an interested commentary on how poorly contemporary people understand our visual heritage. For most people, all the saints look pretty much the same, but to me there is such a great variety and distinction among them. I’m working on St. Vincent right now and am really enjoying getting to know him.

  3. The Art Pour on July 3, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Hmm.. interesting. I need to look more into this!!

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