The New York Optimist
February 2009
Mr. Wu’s Terms of
Endearment.
The Mouseketeers in Iraq is a series of paintings about war inspired by studio portraits of the original Mouseketeers
Doreen (DAV) 2004
acrylic, gesso, tar gel,
graphite on Arches 30 x 22.5
inches
Annette (after Abu Ghraib)  
2004 acrylic, gesso, tar  gel, graphite
on Arches 30 x 22.5 inches
Portraits in Plasma, Television, Séances, and the Substance of Life
Mothers of Pearl
2007
Tar Gel, acrylic, photographs on canvas
triptych, 3 panels, each 15 x 12 inches
Robin (8-27-06)
2006-2007
Tar Gel, acrylic, photograph on canvas 12 x 16 inches
Maria (12-1-06)
2006-2007
Tar Gel, acrylic, photograph on canvas 9 x 12 inches
Jane (6-18-06)
2006-2007
Tar Gel, acrylic, photograph on canvas 12 x 16 inches
In Liquid Sky, Ecstasy and Aliens
Robin (8-24-06)
2006
Tar Gel, acrylic, photograph on canvas 9 x 12 inches
Lucy (8-1-06)
2006
Tar Gel, acrylic, photograph on canvas 12 x 16 inches
Black Hole Portraits, "Gravity's Relentless Pull"
Rick (2)
2004
Tar Gel, acrylic, photograph on canvas 4 1/2 x 6 inches
Jenny (8)
2004
Tar Gel, acrylic, photograph on canvas 9 x 12 inches
Jenny (9)
2003
Tar Gel, acrylic, photograph on canvas 9 1/2 x 12 inches
The March of Time is a history of art as portrayed by thirty rabbits.
950 (Christ)
1997-1999
mixed media, found object 28 x 23 x 3 1/2 inches
August 5 (Volcanic Angel)
2005
Tar Gel, mixed media, found objects 4 1/2 x 8 x 6 inches
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1996
mixed media, audio (to listen, go to Audio) Text and
Lyrics by Judith Page; Music by Judith Page and Tom
Ewing


www.judith.page.com
The work of Judith Page
I once worked for a Japanese corporation who appointed an officer from the
imperial navy as director. He’d always say that to polish an apple one inadvertently
destroys its surface. Such was the qualifying sanctum for his leadership tactics and
the collateral damage he’d produce amongst the staff.

There seems to be a rather mischievous sprite in the way Judith Page produces
portraits of family members, acquaintances and others found in the album of her
career. These are not particularly complementary portrayals that one can sometimes
be painfully commissioned (obligated) as an artist to corroborate the vanity of a
major benefactor. In fact most of the portraits come off as grotesque examples of
burn victims from catastrophic events who some how managed to get out alive at
the expense of their face.

It’s instinctual to rely on one’s facade as the calling card and take for granted how
we immediately use it as the marker for introduction and identification. One’s facial
features is a tool to gauge the well being of another, to determine how well they’ve
aged or to pick up on their mood, not to mention the impact of a first impression.
Should that be abruptly taken away, a more existential force of will to go on with
such a handy cap arises and kicks into gear, more elemental faculties of endurance.
It’s been said that some of those who survive the most horrendous disfigurements to
their person, particularly their head and or face, actually experience a phenomenon of
transcendence. From narcissism and conceit to an elevated egoism assigned to the
task of bare bones survival. This occurrence is not exclusive to the body victim but
those who just can’t match what they hear as familiar with what they see. The voice
may be the same, the dental work intact and the eyes, though through slits, still
contain the portals to the soul. Yet once the axis of recognition is forfeited, one’s
awareness and sensors are thrust into over drive from both sides of the gaze to
search deeper into both sides of the mirror.

There’s a threshold that buoys between fatality and incarnation and suspends the
impulse of recognition. Fueled by the mania of the deviant, these are the terms of
endearment Judith Page bestows upon her subjects.

A parallel exists with the uncompromised agenda that one sets out to produce art in
extreme settings. Conditions that may be deplorable and rife with negativity are met
with persistence and an abandonment of rationale in order to make abstraction and
poetry from the discord and the serenity of ones relationships and surroundings. The
creative process is not regulated to trite strategies of convenience. It may contain a
sublime sense of meditative violence in order to reveal the under layers of a
fraudulent foundation and produce something that at first may incite anxiety only to
wind up the commodore of an elevated encounter.
Alexander Viscio

Judith Page