Today’s piece is a painting on wood by Toronto artist, Judith Geher. Judith is a professional architect as well as an artist and her work always respects the materiality of her chosen mediums, (graphite, oil and maple wood veneer) and always carefully considers the negative space, the space left untouched. On an architectural drawing or blue print, anything left bare is space. In her paintings, the bare space provides breathe for her figures as well as showcasing the texture of the wood and the juxtaposition of that smooth surface with her thick impasto oil paint.
Judith is fascinated by the world of fashion. She pours over fashion magazines and attends fashion shows. They provide a sense of the theatrical as well inspiration in the form of pattern, shape and colour. In this painting titled “Janus”, she has painted two models, who are styled and dressed similarly, passing each other on the catwalk while below, the faces of the audience are turning towards them; watching, judging. The composition has a dream-like unrealness to it which is echoed in her treatment of the audience faces. They blur as they turn to watch and they become distorted as their faces subtly show their regard of the couture as it passes by. There is a quality to the painting that reminds me of the famous French painter, Toulouse- Lautrec who painted the Bohemian theatrical life of Paris.
Judith Geher’s work is fresh, exciting and fun. As I ponder this painting, I feel as I am watching a moving picture and I can almost hear the beat of the music that the models are stomping out.