New Exhibition opens today in Hansen Galleries

25 01 2012

On the Fly
paintings by Judith Raphael

Judith Raphael is a Chicago artist whose work has been exhibited consistently in Chicago galleries and museums as well as in museums from Boston to Seattle.  She has won numerous awards for her work, including three Illinois Arts Council Grants, an Arts Midwest/National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Fellowship, and the Adolph & Clara Obrig Prize at the National Academy Museum’s 179 Annual invitational in 2004.

Douglas Stapleton of the Illinois State Museum, Chicago Gallery, says: “Judith Raphael creates a modern day coming of age story of young women poised on the cusp of adolescence.  In portraits and narrative paintings her subjects confront and compete with one another, posing in attitudes of new self-confidence as they gaze outward with watchful, searching attention.  Classical poses from art history and stances taken from sports pages and magazines suggest both the pressure and playfulness of the “rules” of growing up.  Her girls inhabit a contradictory world: an interior landscape of uncertainty deftly filtered through airy brightness and clarity.”

This exhibition is a series of acrylic paintings by Chicago artist Judith Raphael. Her show, entitled, “On the Fly” focuses on the subject of young girls. Her website statement describes her young subject matter of the last decade as

“mostly girls with their particular discomfort in accepting the cultural paradigm of womanhood.  I adapted aggressive postures to gently mock the macho stance of classical male sculpture.  The Greek warriors and pontificating orators, sexy satyrs and slightly intoxicated gods seemed a perfect attitude for my bumptious girls. Copying these icons with their self-confident stance, worked to give my pre-adolescents the gravity they need to compete with the paradigm of self-conscious girls presented by the media.

With the intensity of girls at play in mind, I have been literally focusing on twelve year olds, photographing them and reinterpreting their personae as they enter the cusp in life where girls hover before entering full-blown adolescence.  My last one-person show on this subject was titled “On the Verge”.  I still borrow from art history but male stances from extreme sports magazines and the newspaper sports page have also become sources.  Sometimes soft background images of girlhood from my generation are used as counterpoint to these active subjects. Playful, but dead serious, I think of my figures as feminine foot soldiers in the process of becoming women in a complex new world.”

We are extremely honored to have Judith’s work in our galleries as Judith has an extensive and highly regarded reputation as an artist with a vast amount of work in collections and past exhibitions, numerous honors and awards, and as a fellow educator, a long history of influence in the world of teaching. Thank you Judith for sharing your work with our department, our college and our community.

Her work will be up through February 29th with a reception being held on February 9th at 4:15pm in Adams Hall.

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