Simultaneously they are creating a distinct artwork that has a unique voice and spirit, which will invite us to share their thoughts or narrative, whilst also exploring our own.
Gerry Judah’s paintings are a direct response to conflict across the globe, and the impact of that violence, whether it is the consequence of war or natural disaster. At the same time, he is fascinated by changing urban landscape, and his paintings explore the dynamic of construction and destruction. It is hard to look at his work without reflecting on conflict in the Middle East whether that be Afghanistan, Iraq or recent months in Gaza. There are also echoes of the devastation ensuing from climate change wrought by hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding and bushfires that remind us of New Orleans underwater, or the aftermath of the tsunami in the Asian Basin. Although on first inspection, Judah’s epic landscapes articulate global concerns for peace, he acknowledges the dangers of man’s impact on a finely balanced global ecology, and the decimation that unravels as we exploit the planet with an ever growing appetite.
Aesthetically, Judah composes a score that is made up of light and shadow. The fragility and delicacy of his work is at odds with the force and consequence of the concepts that drive him. Despite the darkness of his subject matter, he creates an explosion of light permeated with an ethereal quality reflecting the cadences and vortices of shattered architecture that we witness in daily media reports. His apocalyptic settlements constructed from scores of buildings, complete with internal structures, communications and water towers are fixed onto canvas, and then systematically destroyed. The ensuing rubble and detritus are scattered and fused onto a background of empty white canvas with layers of acrylic gesso to create silent ‘white on white’ abstract paintings.
Transcending issues of politics, race and culture, Judah creates an abstracted and disturbing aesthetic that is both mellifluous and pertinent, where the ‘presence of absence’ and loss is palpable, and we are confronted with the reality and urgency to seek solutions.
Text by Jenny Blyth, 2009