Artists capture an era of design and motion through art
November 27, 2012
Artist Tom Judd, who lives in Philadelphia, Pa., was raised in Salt Lake City and attended the University of Utah.
He traveled to Europe to study art and returned to get his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree at the Philadelphia College of Art, which is now known as the University of the Arts.
Judd has established himself as an oil and acrylic painter, who is fascinated by the architectural, furniture and vehicle designs of the 1960s.
On the other side of the spectrum, San Francisco-based artist Michelle Jader, whose works are created with oils on stacked acrylic panels, is fascinated with movement and emotion, especially the feelings most people get when they are leaping or falling.
The Julie Nester Gallery, 1280 Iron Horse Dr., will host a reception for both artists during the Park City Gallery Association’s monthly gallery stroll on Friday, Nov. 30, from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Judd and Jader spoke with The Park Record last week about their works and how their respective styles developed.
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Tom Judd, "The Modern Idiom"
The 12 works Tom Judd will bring to the Nester Gallery depict houses, buildings, automobiles and furniture of the 1960s.
"I always loved the early modern architects, starting with the Bauhaus movement coming out of Germany, and how they basically influenced modern architecture from houses to shopping malls," Judd said.
He also loved the idea that architecture was this grand design that was going to change our lives.
"There is optimism in these designs and it’s apparent these architects and artists weren’t just out to design buildings, but to question how we live and change our lifestyles," Judd explained.
On the other hand, Judd is also interested in how time skews our perceptions.
"For example, what was once cutting edge and revolutionary now looks antiquated," he said. "I mean, those houses that were built and designed 50 years ago once looked so futuristic, but, now, although still wonderful in design, look quaint."
To capture those ideas, Judd began creating works by painting those images on panels. One thing led to another and the artist found he created a whole exhibit of related works.
"I started out a couple of years ago by painting these buildings designed by Marcel Breuer and others," he said. "Then I included paintings of my family’s cars we had when I was growing up.
"I thought they were wonderful, because during that time, these vehicles were essentially dream machines for the American public and simply awe inspiring," Judd said. "When people see these paintings, they will get a feeling of that past attitude. It’s interesting for me to look at these images and see where we were and where we are now."
Judd identified with the Old West art of Charlie Russell while he was in elementary school.
the time he got into high school, his favorite works were by the abstract expressionists Willem De Kooning and Jackson Pollack.
"I knew I wanted to be a painter, but my favorite styles kept changing, so I just started experimenting," he said.
Although Judd’s style still changes, his works all have a certain look that ties them together.
The artist explained that a common thread emerged through his experimentation.
"I do works on paper, and some installations, but I mostly do two-dimensional painting with oils and acrylics on paper that are combined with the mixed-media collages I do with found and recycled materials," he said. "I’m looking forward to showing these pieces to Park City."
Michelle Jader, "Faith"
Like many artists, Michelle Jader had a keen interest in art.
"My undergraduate degree is in art, but that parlayed into a marketing and consulting career," Jade explained. "I became a product marketer and worked with a lot of graphic designers, so, I was typically working with individuals who were trying to visually show a concept."
While she worked with these designers, Jader fed her artistic appetite by taking extension classes.
"At one point, I had a break between clients and looked into some master-level art classes at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and I got absolutely hooked," she said.
When the time was right, Jader took a leap of faith and abandoned her established career for a new career as an artist.
"It was an enormous change for me to go from something that I had invested 20 years of my life into consider to do something different," she confessed. "What made it possible was that I felt a genuine pure love of what I was doing with art and a sense of belonging that made it so right for me."
Jader’s works are oil-painted images on transparent acrylic panels of people leaping, falling or diving.
"The whole concept I’m trying to explore is how we willingly, or unwillingly, dive into the next phase of our lives," she said. "There are so many different feelings and positions you’re in when you feel like you’re falling or diving. They correspond to emotions such as excitement or anxiety or just having a lack of control, and that is fun to explore."
Jader said the artist Alex Kanevsky gave her the spark that ignited her work.
"I read that he painted and drew on transparent paper called Mylar," she said. "One day I had a stack of his Mylar paintings in my studio and noticed I could see all the other works through the top painting."
So, Jader did some research to see if there were other surfaces that would do the same thing, and found a way to use oils on an acrylic panel.
"Then I stacked more panels on top of the painting," she said. "I use between two and four different layers of panels. With each panel, the images get visually muted, which creates a tension."
Jader works with models who are dancers, gymnasts and aerialists and takes them to trampoline parks.
"I take photos of them in action and paint from there," she said.
The Julie Nester Gallery, 1280 Iron Horse Dr., will host artists Tom Judd and Michelle Jader for a free artist opening on Friday, Nov. 30, from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, visit http://www.julienestergallery.com .