One of the first things that impressed me about Judy Maxwell was that she seemed to possess that definitive element I found in all artists’ work I respected — she continually changed her mind. Visiting Judy’s studio on a regular basis was always an adventure. Paintings I had seen weeks earlier had undergone dramatic, if not total transformation, with only glimpses of earlier images still visible on the canvas. In this sense, the constant evolution of her painting was the heart and soul of her work.
Judy’s determination was always inspiring and worthy of attention. Her infectious energy and dedication filtered through the studio and each new series of paintings. From her earliest work, we can trace the development of her considerable drafting skills, maturing through the later paintings. Potent with authoritative gestures and surfaces mandated by sheer force of will, these later paintings came to embody Judy’s firm belief in the need for urgency and mystery in contemporary painting.
Judy developed a vocabulary of images steeped in drama, recalling a personal sense of theater. These inventions brought with them a means of expression both singular and universal. The untimely passing of this artist and friend reminds us all of Judy’s constant desire to “get to it” before the moment has passed.
I am grateful to Women & Their Work for recognizing Judy’s contribution to the art community and for the opportunity to present the work. Thanks are due to Brooks Champion, Inc., New York, for design and production of this invitation. I would also like to thank Judy’s husband, Jim, and her two sons, Jamie and Wilson, for their generosity and cooperation in organizing this exhibit.
Associate Professor of Art
University of Texas, Austin