Judith Ostrowitz


Art By Judith Ostrowitz


Judith Ostrowitz is a mixed media artist who combines paintings, drawings, and photographs in digital formats which are then printed on Plexiglas to create large semi-transparent pieces.  Her work is inspired by her study of Alchemy, Qabalah, Tarot, and other Western Mystery Traditions. She has exhibited her work at many New York City venues including the Hudson Guild Gallery, the Sculpture Center, and the Kiana Malekzadeh Gallery and in Germany through the Agentur Bildende Kunst, Berlin.  A one person exhibition of her work will be on view at the Open Center Gallery in November of 2013.

Ostrowitz has earned a B.F.A. from Pratt Institute, an M.A. from the New School for Social Research, and a Ph.D. from Columbia University.  She is also an art historian and is currently a Research Associate for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  She is the author of Privileging the Past: Reconstructing History in Northwest Coast Art, 1999 and Interventions: Native American Art for Far-Flung Territories, 2009, both published by the University of Washington Press as well as numerous articles about Native American art.


My semi-transparent pieces suggest images that live in the mind’s eye, unmoored by the requirements of wall, floor, or canvas. They are constructed from my digitized paintings, drawings, and photographs which are sometimes combined with scanned fabrics, stones, and other materials. These pastiches are then transformed in Photoshop, printed on film, and adhered to Plexiglas. They are usually installed with spacers that position the panels an inch or two away from the wall, allowing light to flow through them. Shaped panels or examples with extensions are made to enhance magical effects.

The shape-shifting that results from these techniques refers to processes of transformation in personal life, world history, and nature. Images and concepts are derived from Alchemy, Qabalah, Tarot, and other Western Mystery Traditions. They explore the problematic matter of fixed position and the mutability of reality according to perception and acts of imagination that dissolve and then reconfigure the known world. In addition, visual puns result from the insertion of objects from everyday life that acquire new meaning from their pictorial contexts. For example, a souvenir dish may stand in for a halo and a large golden tassel suggests the sun. These substitutions create relationships between the world we know and those realms that we wish to know more about.

Intelligence of the Body (2013) is a small work based on a much larger wall panel that was completed in 2010. This image is related to a tarot card called “The Moon.” Here, corporeal beings represented by various animals respond, by instinct, to the pull of the Moon, a celestial body, which guides them to carry out extraordinary feats.


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