Judith Shah writes in her artist’s notes: “…My non-objective paintings celebrate the vibrancy of intuitive marks that seem to develop from the subconscious. As I apply collage and acrylic paint the layers gently camouflage the flowing forms taking shape and multiplying…” The artist is describing the profound elemental activity she is engaged in while painting --- the activity of creating energized presence and aura through transmutation and embodiment. In so doing the artist creates a feeling of electrifying vitality that courses through her pictorial surfaces.
Judith Shah’s dynamic use of various brushstrokes sustains a measured mark-making approach that allows a sense of economy and regulation to come alive, spatially. While doing so this very same agency that pertains to the conscripted forces of order and containment are demobilized and routed. Such sensed or felt contradictions or contrasts within each of the artist’s works activate a lived-in vitality, an undeniable quality of beingness referred to by Motherwell as the fountainhead of creative energy. To our delight that same quality courses through each of Judith Shah’s paintings and in doing so enlivens our world.
- Dominique Nahas
Dominique Nahas is an independent curator and critic based in Manhattan. He teaches critical theory at Pratt Institute and at the New York Studio Residency Program.