I too deal with alter egos in my work, and find it liberating. Behind a mask we can delve into the myriad “personas” that we are capable of imagining and slide down that slippery slope of dream and fantasy. The need to relate to the past - to jump on the back of historical figures and bring them transformed into the present with all the wonder and mystery that a leap in time conjures is captivating. Judith Henry in the Hidden: Two Iterations series probes both the desire to BE hidden as the “other” and the wrenching psychology of being oneself viscerally revealed through the act of painting.
The ME AS HER series consists of a group of black and white photos of women who have blazed their territory through accomplishment - the absence of color is indicative of the tabula rasa of the forgotten. Judith melds herself into these individuals creating an amalgam of yesterday and today. The artist is not so much hidden as absorbed into their beings, but at the same time relocating them into her own space - Williamsburg Brooklyn where she lives and works. A mutual transference is thereby consummated.
Some of the women that Judith Henry embodies are Betty Friedan, Dorothy Lamour, Judy Garland, Emma Goldman, Lucille Ball, Miriam Makeba among others.
THE ARTIST IS HIDING series is both heartrending and exquisitely heartbreaking in its uncovering of the artist’s psyche with its range of ecstatic and fervid exposures made visible through colorful, dramatic sweeps of slicing, brash brush strokes, as well as silent, muted tones of color and collage, replete with the aching, delicate caress of a painting’s touch on the ever-present mask and changing background painting that she interacts with. An interrelationship is formed that yields either a fighting duel or a calm truce and a literal “figure/ground” is established charged with impassioned expressionism.
Judith Henry obviously loves painting and the capacity of art to penetrate and transport the artist into unchartered terrains through camouflage; in so doing she reveals her most intimate vitality. Judith Henry’s face is always concealed behind a mask sheltering her face; yet what we do “see” is undeniably unmasked and clearly both seductive and stunning.