Mary Ellen Judge
Mary Ellen Judge
Being born in the 1960s has allowed me to witness a lot of changes in America especially concerning women’s rights. Today, women and girls live in the legacy of those women who fought for our freedom regarding family life, religion, government, employment and education. But, there is still work to be done.
My paintings and collages humorously explore the restricting facets of feminine beauty, cultural anxieties about female sexuality; its rites, and representations in contemporary society today. My theory originates from my own experiences as a woman.
My artwork seeks to reclaim feminine stereotypes that are deemed disgusting such as beauty rituals, pubic hair, and female bodily functions. I redefine femininity as an act of reclamation, an act of learning to love or at least accepting myself as I am, despite what society suggests.
Mary Ellen Judge is an artist from Florence, South Carolina. Growing up in the 60s and 70s, surrounded by flower power, peace, love, and with an explosion of colours and design, Mary was drawn to bold and vibrant patterns and decoration from an early age. She began her art career in the late 80s when the female figure became her main source of inspiration.
Mary considers herself as an experimental artist by finding new ways of applying materials to her artwork by using collage materials, recyclable items and stitchery to her artwork. She uses collage as a means to both physically and conceptually bring layered depth to her work. Using images cut from fashion magazines, science magazines, painted surfaces, found objects, nude photography, and old art books, she pieces together feminine figures that are both chic and controversial. Her work is playful, subversive and often humorous.
Her inspirations come from floral, travel, textiles, wallpaper, Mexican folk arts, Caribbean Art, and Bohemianism. “Using humour in my artwork is a survival tool. Without it, I’d most likely be in prison”.
Mary received her MFA from Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. She had a 2010 solo exhibition at Francis Marion University Hyman Fine Art Gallery, Florence, South Carolina, and has been part of many group exhibitions which include the Pee Dee Regional Art Competition, South Carolina; Figure Out Exhibit, South Carolina; Artfields, South Carolina; Roberts Galley, Lunder Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Vagina Monologues, South Carolina; and the Art Trail, South Carolina.