A fascination with pattern and negative space has always been at the heart of my work in paint. Lately I distort, disguise, or delete the narrative portion of my paintings and allow myself to obsess completely on color, repetition and the shapes that occur between objects.
Most of my current paintings are the results of visual puzzles I invent for myself. These brain teasers are concerned with creation of, and reaction to, reflection and reiteration of the positive shapes and negative spaces of the final images and those in the under painting.
As a child in my home near Detroit, I was always coloring and cutting things up. After earning my BFA from the University of Michigan in 1973, I settled in Baltimore, Maryland where I participated in several group and solo exhibitions. In the 1980’s I embraced motherhood, moved to Pennsylvania, built a house with my husband and started a picture framing business. By 1991 I had returned to painting and exhibiting and in 1998 closed my frame shop so that I could devote my full attention to my studio work.
Why am I driven to express myself in pictures? I have begun to allow myself the questions without formulating any answers; growing more comfortable with uncertainty and observation, less with obligations and expectations. I have become more responsive in the work of painting. Rather than designing and then executing a piece, I now start with bigger, less confined ideas and see where the images suggest a decision.
In 2004 I was selected by the PA Council for the Arts to participate in their Arts in Education program. Reluctant to leave my easel at first, I have grown to love and appreciate the experience of being an artist in residence. The contact with students and the adventure of creating together is an enriching balance for the studio solitude and I am happy to report that these two very different occupations have begun to influence each other.
Judeth Pekala Hawkins