January 25, 2017
Abstract art and yoga. Judith Myers's must-haves for any contemporary art lover
Are you looking to add some wow factor to your interior space? Judith's larger than life paintings are sure to hit the spot. Not only do they ooze colour, but their sheer size are enough to command attention in any room. I had the pleasure of meeting acclaimed Vancouver-based artist, Judith Myers, last week and we’re absolutely thrilled to feature her as one of our February Spotlights at Kabuni. Philosophies about life – spirituality, nature, society and political – all weigh in on her art, and I’m sure she will have more than one or two stories to share at our Kabuni Spotlight, from her quite remarkable life.
Typically Judith’s paintings take 3 months to produce and are an expression of the subconscious; a vehicle for self expression. Art supplies and audiobooks in hand, the canvas becomes her daily journal; a visual jotting down of thoughts and emotions on the canvas which becomes a metaphor for life itself. Connecting with her inner zen, (Judith is an avid yoga practitioner), painting becomes a way of channelling energy. Her artwork conveys big emotion through large gestural movement, echoing work from the Abstract Expressionist movement which emerged in the 1940s in America. This was a pivotal moment in the arts world which saw Paris lose its crown to New York as the heart and soul of culture. A post-war form, it became an expression of ultimate freedom, as well as a reaction against the political landscape of the time. Judith has been inspired by some of the Abstract Expressionist greats such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jean-Paul Riopelle and Wassily Kandinsky.
Judith’s spontaneously titled 'Red Gold/ Hot Hot' makes for an incredible visual, clad with warmth and intoxicating energy. Brimming with emotion, it’s charged with a real effervescence of vitality – so synonymous with the Abstract Expressionist style. The striking red colour is a nod to Muladhara, or Root Chakra; a yoga position known as the foundation and root of your being, symbolizing stability of the mind and body. Interacting with the vibrancy of the red is an intoxicating mix of vivid turquoise hues and glittering gold leaf. The turquoise colour a personal favourite, reminiscent of the Mediterranean and Caribbean waters which she so loves, while the addition of the gold leaf is bittersweet – a poignant but dramatic final flourish adding to an overall sense of positivity and joy. Her late husband, a prolific ceramic artist, left behind gold, silver and copper leaf which remained unused due to a project he never had the chance to complete. Inspired, Judith felt compelled to incorporate these elements into her own art.
Born in Toronto, Canada, Judith started life as a modern dance teacher. With fond memories of time spent watching artists at work in the studio below her, it seems she was always destined to become a painter. Her passion for large expressive movement transferred from her feet to her fingers – she credits her artistic flair and eye for balance to her former profession. In the 1980s, Judith met her late husband who was Dutch, and a move to Amsterdam quickly followed. Immersed in the trendy arts hub of Holland’s capital city, Judith’s untapped artistic potential had the chance to thrive. It became the perfect place for her to explore and discover the vast array of arts as she took courses in ceramics, drawing, painting and mixed media. Part of a vibrant artistic community, and playing an active role in her late husband’s ceramic exhibitions worldwide, it was not long before she became an established painter in her own right and enjoyed international success with exhibitions in Holland, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.
Fast-forward to today and Judith is now an accomplished, Vancouver-based artist. Hugely influenced by environments around her, the natural wonders of the West Coast have found their way into her paintings. In her piece 'Moment in Time' a colourful but subdued palette of bluey, green hues articulate Vancouver ocean waves, and the beauty of Stanley Park to create a mesmerizing and mediative piece.
Judith is passionate about world issues and politics; the activist in her uses art as a means of social commentary and bringing difficult subject matters to light. Previous work has touched on the environmental impact of globalization where she experimented with mixed media of wax, tar and paint to foster awareness of oil spills, and the devastation of the environment. Another work focused on the plight of African women caught up in the aids epidemic; bringing the importance of empowering these women to the fore, she exhibited her paintings as part of the World Aids Conference. Closer to home, one of her staggeringly large pieces stands 20 feet tall in the Bankers Hall in Calgary showcasing the majestic natural marvels of Alberta.
By Clare Langrishe