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Judy Riola

Judy Riolas' paintings are populated by things hovering on the verge of recognizability; shapes that are both animate and inanimate simultaneously. Cartoons are the starting point for these images. In America, cartoons are our creation myths, our cosmology. She loved them as a child and still does. She loves the forms, the saturated colors, and especially the sense that everything in them pulses with life in a visible way.

She works from videotape, freezing and sketching “in-between” frames - frames that aren’t visible when the tape is running. She is looking for that transformational action that is always present but is invisible until the tape is stopped. That simple act reveals a wonderful explosion of form and color that remains hidden until the action is stilled.

There’s a parallel process in daily life: cultivating that part of ourselves that is able to perceive the richness and wonder that underlie the ordinary, cultivating the witness. The witness is that part of us that watches the mind, just as the mind watches the body. It’s accessed by stilling the incessant chatter of the mind, and my paintings use cartoon-based imagery to explore this process.

It’s important that different tensions be visible in her work: awkwardness and grace, gravity and silliness, object and being, female and male. A celebration of sexuality that is not divorced from spirituality is inherent in my work and is encouraged by my interest in Indian art and tradition. Her use of color is also influenced by a culture whose “navy blue is shocking pink,” as well as her passion for cartoon color.

Click on each picture below to see larger versions of the picture and additional information on the piece.

  "Arrows into Flowers"   "Grace with Gators"   "Grace with Goldfish"
"Respiration"   "Sheltered Moons and Clouds"   "Witness Smelling the Flowers"   "Witness with Four Ears"
"Madurai Trees"            
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