Artist Statement 2021 In the summer of 2019, I traveled to Ireland for an extended painting trip, renting a cottage for a month on the rugged Sheepshead Peninsula in West Cork, and then driving the circumference of the island for more exploration and painting. Along with my husband, also a painter, I’ve been going abroad to paint for many years to focus on plein air. This trip was different: it was the first time where I planned on gathering inspiration and taking references for my figurative work.
In my figure paintings I veer from strict naturalism toward the poetic, emphasizing minimal environments, lost edges, and transparent passages. My flesh palette is purposefully high-key and desaturated giving my figures a marble-like sense of solidity while also embodying the ethereal. I hoped Ireland would evoke the poetic and ethereal imagery I seek in my work. My hopes were realized in the megalithic sites and the vast landscape of West Cork—I saw sleeping dragons in the stony hillsides, and felt I was straddling different ages when standing before the ancient stones. I returned with a bounty of references and studies from life to begin my work.
As I worked the long hours in the studio during the pandemic, these paintings of Ireland served as an escape from current affairs of the world, and at the same time forced me to think deeper about issues such as my identity. A smaller work, of a single standing stone for example, would serve as an escape—I loved to get lost in building up the textures layer by layer. Or I could escape into the ancient stone circles and imagine a connection to a culture long disappeared. Then there was me. I’m the person in all these figurative paintings, and I spent countless hours staring at myself. In past work I am just one of many muses for any given series, with the overall feeling always outweighing portrait likeness. I’m pretty good at separating me from my painted image, but this time it was harder. I found myself thinking more about my own identity – how I see myself vs. how the world sees me. I am of mixed race—neither fully in one world nor the other. I wondered if I would lose my culture when my mom (the clear link to my Chinese heritage) is gone. This brought me, in one painting, to incorporate her features into my own. In other works, I found my technique of obscuring the lines of the dress with overlapping clouds taking on new meaning, expressing the veiled complexity of who I am.
Ireland has always had a magical hold on me. Since I was young and immersed in fantasy books, I often pictured them taking place in lands that looked like Ireland. I’m one-fourth Irish, and though I wasn’t brought up with a personal connection to that culture, it exerts a mythic pull on me. The hours spent creating this body of work has bridged my imagination with the actual power and beauty of this land.
Judy was born in Taipei, Taiwan and grew up in Hawai’i. While attending the University of Hawai’i she studied art as well as geology and Hawaiian studies where she expanded her love of nature and understanding of her home. She then transferred to the Art Institute of Southern California for a more formal art education. After receiving her BFA, she attended Cal State University – Fullerton’s MFA program before completing her MFA at Laguna College of Art & Design. When Judy’s not in her studio she combines her love of travel and art by plein air painting around the world, her native Hawai’i and adopted home of Venice Beach.
Born 1973 Taipei, Taiwan
EDUCATION 2008 MFA - Laguna College of Art & Design, Laguna Beach, CA 2006 Figure Painting Workshop, Angel Academy of Art, Florence, Italy 2000-04 Post Baccalaureate, California State University-Fullerton, Fullerton, CA 2000 BFA - Art Institute of Southern California, Laguna Beach, CA 1996-97 University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI
SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2021 Intermundium, George Billis Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 2018 Littoral, Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Seattle, WA 2015 New Paintings, Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Culver City, CA 2013 Terra di Sienna—Paintings of Southern Tuscany, Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Culver City, CA 2012 How We See: The Process of Observation to Realization (two person show with Kenny Harris), Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery, Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, CA 2011 Transfixed, Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Culver City, CA
GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2020 The Cityscape Show X: Concrete and Sky, George Billis Gallery LA, Culver City, CA 2020 Women by Women: Depictions and Interpretations by Greater Los Angeles Women. Curated by Sharon Allitcotti with Curatorial Advisor Fatemeh Burnes, SoLA Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA 2019/2020 Winter Salon, Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Seattle, WA 2019 Perennial: Pop-Up Exhibition, Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 2018 Gesture, Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Seattle, WA 2018 The Figure: In Paint and Line, Steele Gallery, Gage Academy of Art, Seattle, WA 2018 The Cityscape Show VIII, George Billis Gallery LA, Culver City, CA 2018 Artwork from 29 Venice Artist from the @BeforeTheyGo project, The Hängar, Los Angeles, CA 2017 Liberty, Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Seattle, WA 2016 Identity - Method: Degrees of Separation, Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Seattle, WA 2015 Subjective Truths, Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard, CA 2015 Observing Observing (a white cup), Prographica Gallery, Seattle, WA (curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard, Norman Lundin) 2014 Group Exhibition, Malaga Cove Library Gallery, Palos Verdes Estates, CA (curated by Sara Balough Designs) 2014 Venice Made, FABstudio, Santa Monica, CA 2013 Wunderkammer: Miniatures & Curiosities, Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Culver City, CA 2012 Self-Possessed: Examining Identity in the 21st Century, Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Culver City, CA 2012 Visual Tales from Éire and England, LCAD Gallery, Laguna College of Art & Design, Laguna Beach, CA 2008 Contemporary Realist Painting & Drawing: 16 Graduates/19 Mentors, Koplin Del Rio, Culver City, CA 2007 The Storm Before the Calm: A Night of Music and Art, Mamiya Theatre, Honolulu, HI 2003 Contemporary Art and Design: Faculty Exhibition 2003, Laguna College of Art and Design, Seven Degrees Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA 2001 Faculty Collects Exhibition, Ettinger Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA 1996 Ka Moana Nui: The Vast Ocean, Gallery ʻIolani, Kāneʻohe, HI
JURIED EXHIBITIONS 2019 LCAD Alumni Exhibition 2019, LCAD Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA 2015 Figurative Movement, Poets and Artists Online Exhibition, May 20 2015 Issue 63 (curated by F. Scott Hess) 2011 50th Anniversary Juried Alumni Exhibition, Seven Degrees Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA 2006 Laguna College of Art & Design Alumni Invitation Exhibition: 45th Anniversary Celebration, Seven Degrees Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA
TEACHING 2018 Laguna College of Art & Design, Laguna Beach, CA 2004 Portfolio Development Workshop at Windward Community College, sponsored by Laguna College of Art & Design, Kāneʻohe, HI 2004 Art Teacher assistant 1-5th graders, Le Jardin Academy: College Preparatory School, Kailua, HI 2002 Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, CA
LECTURES/WORKSHOPS 2017 Artist Talk, Ryman Arts, October 29 2010 Artist Talk with Kenny Harris, Jon Swihart Artist Slideshows, January 16