For those who have followed Anne Judell’s work over the past decade, this exhibition will overturn preconceptions.
We have come to understand Judell’s work as exquisite drawing, as delicate work on paper where - for instance - pastel, gesso and charcoal create limitless innerscapes and ambiguous forms; where tactile surfaces are formed not just by the brush, but by scalpel and bare hands.
What New Beginnings tells us is this: in placing Judell within the constraints of certain media and techniques we have barely scratched the surface. New Beginnings distances us from the hand of the artist, exposing fundamentals that are both personal and universal.
These are Giclée prints. But they are prints for a reason: the painting itself is not the end but the beginning. Yes there is a painting, a small densely-coloured work which we do not see. Judell wants us to peer through and past this painting, to discover the miracle of paint on paper. Tiny sections are framed by Judell, blown up by technology at the edge of digital photographic capability to reveal a new world behind the painting: forms and colours unplanned and unknown. Fibres and pigment interact in ways which mirror nature, the cosmos and perhaps the mind.
The process of discovery does not end there. For some of these works, Judell takes the prints themselves and transforms them - finding forms, tracing movements, cutting deeper, or obscuring with paint the original beyond recognition. Then the artist pulls away and the final work is printed.
They are remarkable works for their beauty, their origin and their adventure. They take us past the hand of the artist to some underlying imperative that is (almost) beyond her control.
Janet Clayton October 2016