Reception for the artist, Friday, April 6, 5 - 7:30pm
Rhona Hoffman Gallery is delighted to open its new location at 1711 West Chicago Avenue with Judy Ledgerwood’s fifth solo gallery exhibition Far From the Tree. The visual pleasure, luminosity, and optical stimulation primary in Judy Ledgerwood’s new paintings are hinged upon their embedded conceptual complexity. For over thirty years the Chicago-based painter has been dismantling the canon of Abstract Painting from within by using disruptive color combinations, deconstructing the minimal / conceptual grid, and employing decidedly feminine forms.
Maximalist color and provocative shapes are primary agents in Judy Ledgerwood’s engagement with historical painting. Whether interrupting rich blues with unexpected green, orange, and yellows in Tiny Dancer or combining glowing orange with translucent mustard browns in Sheela, Judy Ledgerwood always provokes viewers to extend beyond complacent enjoyment and actively engage with looking. In Hopscotch Chelsea Rose and Drunkard’s Path, quilting patterns serve as the instrument to organize Ledgerwood’s characteristic chevron and quatrefoil matrix. The immense 2012 painting Grandma’s Flower Garden prefigures these most recent paintings and directly references women in the artist’s family passing down visual information. In Far From the Tree, Judy Ledgerwood’s signature quatrefoil shape is augmented with circles, diamonds, chevrons, and seed-like forms associated with Paleolithic and Neolithic goddesses. The artist refers to these shapes as “ciphers of feminine power” - rooted in the generative, flexible Yonic form. Manipulating the grid, shape, and color of large-scale contemporary painting, Ledgerwood shatters the canon from within to create a distinct, feminist painting voice.
Judy Ledgerwood (b. 1959, Indiana) received a BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati and a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has held numerous solo exhibitions, most recently at The Graham Foundation and Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, IL, Tracy Williams Ltd, New York, Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston, TX, Hausler Contemporary, Austria, and Rhona Hoffman Gallery, among many others. She is the recipient of several awards including The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award, an Artadia Award, a Tiffany Award in the Visual Arts, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and an Illinois Art Council Award. Judy Ledgerwood's work is included in prominent public collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, IL, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the Milwaukee Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen Switzerland, among others. In 2015, Ledgerwood was commissioned by the Embassy of the United States in Vientiane, Laos to create a monumental site-specific painting, and in May 2018 she will become the first Chicago-based artist to create an installation for the Art Institute's Bluhm Family Terrace. Judy Ledgerwood is the Alice Welsh Skilling Professor of Art at Northwestern University.