by Judith Mullen
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Wax, charcoal, pigment on plaster on tile mounted on wood
8″ x 8″
Art By Judith Mullen
Over the past several years Judith Mullen's paintings, sculptures and installations continue to explore motion and space, the nature/culture divide and transformation. Sculptures and installations evolve out of the painting process by using materials already found in the studio along with objects--such as fallen tree branches, bark, stumps, and rocks--found while hiking. Mullen marries these items to the handmade, along with fabric, wire, clay, wax, plaster and paint. The once cast away and forgotten is transformed into an energized, open container which speaks to illusions, history and possibility.
In 2001 Mullen received a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been shown in venues throughout the United States, including Chicago, New York and Los Angeles and most recently at the South Bend Museum of Art, Indiana. Over the years she has received numerous awards along with professional residencies. She is a recent recipient of the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, which provided her with an opportunity to spend two weeks at Grotte de Niaux, France, studying the ancient cave paintings, resulting in a solo show in France. Her work is held in both private and public collections.
Recent paintings are abstracted mental maps of my travels where I attempt to speak to the merging of contemporary culture with the natural world. By exploring cultural messages through iconic signs and familiar patterns along with organic and inorganic imagery I record moments of interaction and response to daily man-made stimuli as juxtaposed to the presence of the natural world around us.
I draw inspiration from sources as varied as aerial land formations, walks in the forest preserve, primitive mark making and contemporary literature. Working on paper the image emerges through layers of superimposed line, shape and washes of color suggesting a morning train ride, a walk through the park or perhaps the vast network of communication we receive daily. Together the abstract and the referential invoke the quirky mania of modern society in which the viewer may wander into for a visit.
Color choices for each piece leans towards the intuitive and is often influenced by the seasons and incidents surrounding my own personal life. In the Mile Marker Series I found myself drawn to the blues and grays along with some of the earthy tones found in the high mountains of New Mexico where I first began to work on the paintings.