Arts & Culture · Fine Art

Grace Visits: Artist Judith Henry

Continuing her fascination with the female psyche, Henry has  recently been exploring the brain. She began with the Gridlock series, 5″ x 5″  paintings hung like a grid, humorously titled Bras and Brains, Turtles and Girdles, and Shoes and Booze. They are small, beautifully depicted studies of seemingly unrelated objects; light illuminating us with laughter, the satirical bite of her choices obfuscates the personal, which always seeps into  everything that she touches, particularly as it applies to women’s issues.

Bras and Brains    Turtles and Girdles

Bras and Brains (left), 24” x 20”, acrylic on canvas with collage, 2015 and Turtles and Girdles (right), 20” x 16”, acrylic on canvas with collage, 2015

The Makeover series are Henry’s most powerful paintings to-date. Small portraits of women that overwhelmed me with their primordial thrust, as if reaching back in time to the core of human evolution. Various techniques and paint applications are manifest: collage is an important component; eyes, lips and the ever-present “sparkling” brain, perched atop heads like a hat, projecting curiosity, joy, anger and deep sadness. Facial features are often warped creating a startlingly poignant beauty — beauty that is morphed from the ideal, symmetrical faces featured in magazine advertisements. These portraits are titled arbitrarily with names of women that  she does not know, i.e. EDITH, BETTY, LIZ, HILDA, and HAZEL. Henry notes, “. . . once I gave each one a name, they became that person . . . like naming a baby.”

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Judith Henry loves the capacity of art to penetrate and transport the artist into unchartered terrains through camouflage. In so doing she reveals her most intimate vitality. Henry’s own face is concealed behind a mask sheltering her face; yet what we do “see” is undeniably unmasked and both seductive and stunning.

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  • LaThoriel June 10, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    Judith work is always timely. Her caregiver watercolor series are terrific! Especially while performing such care.

  • Grace Graupe-Pillard August 23, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Thank you Suzan, Phyllis and Lauren for your comments.

  • Lauren Donner August 23, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Wonderful explanation of Judith Henry’s exquisite work. I especially gravitate to the turtles and girdles work but am in awe of new work, the Makeover series.

  • PhyllisRosser August 15, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    The mask ofjudith’sfacewasmyfavorite.

  • Suzan August 15, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Thank you for this beautifully written introduction to Judy Henry’s work. I am taken with her anonymous yet intimate portraits in The Artist is Hiding series.

  • Grace Graupe-Pillard August 12, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Richard – that is another thing that intrigued me. Thanks for commenting.

  • Richard August 12, 2016 at 8:02 am

    enjoyed the article and artwork, interesting look into the female psyche

  • Grace Graupe-Pillard August 11, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Thank you Nina – The minute I saw the Makeover Series I knew they had to be written about.

  • Grace Graupe-Pillard August 11, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Thank you Karen. I agree and that is why I wanted to write about them.

  • Karen austin August 11, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    I enjoyed viewing Judith Henry’s humorous & satirical gridlock series. Her very powerful portraits of women have such a primordial feel to them.

  • Nina Litvak August 11, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Very insightful analysis of Judith Henry’s exciting work. I especially love the new works, the Makeover series.

  • Grace Graupe-Pillard August 11, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Thank you Judith Escalona for reading and your comments on Judith Henry’s work. Much appreciated.

  • Judith Escalona August 11, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Very nice. Thoughtful and imaginative. Masks and the truths they reveal. Well-done Judith!