Abstract Intuition and the Art of JudiLynn India
People think emotionally first. Then comes a thought process to figure out why the reaction. Nothing inspires this more than viewing art.
Abstraction challenges the rational. The instinct to compare unrecognizable forms to something recognizable is innate. Perhaps it reflects survival in the jungle for millions of years—taking a piece of information and wrapping it into a whole for fight or flight reactions. So, advancing out of such a literal way of thinking is not easy, but rewarded when achieved.
Few artists bring an original voice to abstraction because it is hard. This is a much-explored genre and to be original means finding an unexplored path along a very busy expressway. It happens rarely.
Abstract works must do a lot with a little. Emotion and atmosphere must be established and a reference point given to anchor the composition. In seeking an artist that approaches abstraction with an original voice, yet obviously educated in the various forms in modern history, JudiLynn India exemplifies many of the principles of creating and viewing abstraction that gives it the power to provoke.
Components of Abstraction
1. Reduction – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
The reducing of recognizable form is usually the departure-point for abstract thinking. Relationships, color, and laws of nature, give a foundation to aesthetic choices. First comes the artist’s command of the realistic to allow the skill of choice—to express what a photo- graph can’t. Although technique of realism can inspire awe, to depart from details allows a step back, an ability to see the spaces between objects, color progressions, and the atmosphere of a setting as if having the artist’s vision as a lens in the viewer’s own glasses.
One of the earliest works on display by JudiLynn, “The Light,” expresses a quintessential site versus a specific one. It captures the twilight and how forms start to soften in the dim light— a journey yet untaken. What awaits in the distance is unknown; as with near- sighted vision, all that can be known is close. The distance invites, as there is hidden complexity. Perhaps “The Journey” is a more appropriate title. Then, JudiLynn demonstrates a large jump from the illustrative in 2009 into the deep end of form abstraction. Her work then follows an evolution of greater abstract individuality.
2. Color – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
The greatest emotive tool, color affects a viewer first. Usually a piece has predominantly one color palette with accents of contrast. Color offers universal emotional qualities such as how red expresses anger, green symbolizes growth, blue offers expansiveness, brown signifies earth, etc. How the symbolic associations, the atmospheric structure, and the predominant balance is blended becomes a major message of the artist. Yet some works are mostly about color—an unusual exploration.
JudiLynn’s work is often traditional in the selection of dominant warms contrasted with cools, or brights against subdued, or dark versus light. But occasionally she challenges the expected with complex secondary interactions.“From the Deep” is a masterpiece of dark/light integration and accents of color to accentuate depth. With great restraint, the color is the supporting cast to the strong lead actors in a monochromatic palette. Complex yet simple, organic and engulfing, this image begs for return visits, to get lost in its folds and undulations.
3. Tension – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Most creative work sets up a situation in transition, usually of conflict. Resolution may be implied, but forces in confrontation give the work drama. Contrasts of positive/negative, light/dark, cold/warm, good/ evil have played out in paintings, drawings, sculpture, and even literature, music, and theater, since the dawn of the arts. Even historical works that commemorate events are usually about victory from battles or triumphant religious scenes.
JudiLynn exemplifies this most in “Tributary,” a composition of warm versus cold migration in organic forms. The picture plane feels like a close- up image—movement reminiscent of the very small or the very large. She abandons a recognizable reference point, flattening out the surface. It might be a landscape composition, but the artist has flipped the orientation of cool sky to warm ground. This increases the unsettled feeling of turmoil between forces and there is non more primary than the opposite colors of organic and blue.
4. Simplicity – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
The ultimate goal of abstraction is to symbolize, to represent the essence of a subject versus the subject itself. Photography freed artists from having to record reality. Now with 150 years of his- tory, a strong vocabulary permits a greater use of form. As art becomes more international, the comprehension of universally understood symbols expands. The virtual world then expands more. Where in the real world can an artist have ten exhibitions at once?
Rarely does JudiLynn display a piece twice, and each of her shows adapts the selections to the space, giving a different experience to each location. “Dreamscape 3” is both one of the simplest of her works, and one that makes more than one appearance in the exhibits. Strong in its reduction, the land- scape reference is an anchor. It then conveys a quality of engulfment as the white center is so atmospheric. The ground is hardly stable, giving a movement of forces meeting. JudiLynn gives the viewer a common landscape orientation, yet captures an unusual phenomena—natural but unpredictable. Particularly sensitive is her use of darks versus lights.
5. Composition – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Composition takes the eye on a visual journey. To give movement, choices such as pushing the edges of the picture plane, balancing the figure versus the background, using contrast to create depth, and giving active movement, drama is determined. Often it is in the ambiguity of the dimensional structure that gives the work the dynamic quality that inspires more discovery upon each viewing.
JudiLynn does not often deviate from conventional canvas shapes, but occasionally uses a stronger horizontal or vertical. In “Warm Distraction,” the forms push the boundaries of the picture plane, visually undulating and engulfing the environment.
It is as if the forms bounce off the edges. JudiLynn even defined the edge, which is unusual for her. This piece is also shows a branding that is too dominant— when viewing a work, the artist’s signature does matter, but should not be a visual focus in the com- position. Here, the signature stands out versus worked into the composition, as it does in “Dreamscape 3.”
6. Emotion – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Emotion immediately perceives all of the elements at once—color, composition, and contrast, causing a reaction. If there is no emotional connection with an abstract work, then it fails to engage beyond and will be forgotten. In a sense, abstraction is pure emotion because there is no concrete image to hang a story or narrative upon. Yet the feeling it represents, the style, and the ambience, must resonate.
“Cryptic” may be one of Judilynn’s most emotionally charged works. As a burst of energy, it is also intense with detail. Emotions are not simple, but reactive, dimensional, complex. Perhaps JudiLynn might consider what the virtual world can offer such a concept— movement. The implied could be exaggerated with a progression and bring more to an uploaded creation. Scale and color enhancement aside, exhibition opportunities assumed, and international exploration expected, the artist responds also to the medium of presentation. Perhaps this may be part of JudiLynn’s next evolution. By involving the viewer, the emotional content becomes a more encompassing experience.
7. Experimental – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
To deviate or to offer a new point of view means understanding the source of rebellion. There was a time when abstraction was avant garde, but that ended in the 1960’s. Artists today, as part of the growing process, does homage to those who have come before—who have even set up genré within the category of abstraction. The artists of the 20’s to the 50’s exemplify schools of thought: the expressionism of Dekooning, geometry of Mondrian, collage of Rauschenberg, drips of Pollock, fuzzy shapes of Hoffman— they all contribute to the education of abstract thought. Working a unique spin into known styles is the way to move past them and part of the artist’s journey.
JudiLynn displays her educational foundation. Reviewing “Beyond” is irresistible in its reference to Hans Hoffman, though there is evidence of many different masters providing influence throughout JudiLynn’s exhibits. She demonstrates her exploration amongst her more original images, giving a depth and variety to her shows. But, though compelling visually, her most referential pieces are the least powerful. The more original of JudiLynn’s visual journeys, the more exciting. Perhaps this is because style becomes the tool, not the goal.
8. Empty Mind – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
This may be the hardest aspect of abstract thinking to grasp. Yet it elevates art above the decorative. Ironically, it takes education to learn how not to think—to view without analyzing. An abstract statement is beyond words as it relies on sensation. What pushes or pulls? Where does the eye travel? How is balance upset or resolved? Is the space close or far, or both? Is the orientation inside, above, or next to? What dominates? An empty mind even lets go of these questions—open just to visual impact.
To contemplate, “Shredded 2” is a good choice. It has detail that can keep eyes busy. Shadows lay on top of certain areas while other shapes dominate in the clearing. Another dark is a back- ground that sandwiches the bright gold and red between. Fractured, yet whole, the composition seems to be evolving—subject to natural forces that control everything. The gold follows the red, giving character to the shapes and a sense that there is more gold just off the picture plane.
9. Atmosphere – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
To get visually lost in an abstract work is one of its greatest pleasures. Choosing what to visit versus what to live with is different. To view, think about, react, and move on, is not the same as owning a piece that gives something visually every day, often due to a deceptive complexity. Discovering new segments, perceiving the various levels or layers, considering compositional balances, and determining how it emotionally ties in with life experience, all factor for a livable work. They are often chosen for their atmosphere and a simplicity that masks a complexity.
JudiLynn nods to collage in “Reflection.” Deeply layered with a graffiti-like language, there is a lot to see. In fact, this work demands various distances of viewing. Stand back, and the whites jump forward, supported by the yellow. Step back, and the use of cyan is the fulcrum of the composition. The reds, rather than advance, are pushed back into the middle ground, defining the black back- ground, which leaks through the layered forms strategically. There is a natural-ness and an order through segmenting. Viewing closer shows various visual passages that satisfy with even more to see.
10. Integrity – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
In the virtual world, most 2D art is uploaded from real life. Advantages of being in SL is exposure in galleries and relationships built with audience and other artists. There is a community that is active, vibrant, and inspiring. It means exhibiting internationally without leaving the house. But what is so often not explored is how the virtual world can lead the 2D artist in new directions due to interactivity. This means incorporating movement, layers, or animation. It expands ideas to utilize more of the visual language.
Upon viewing “Within Reach,” my first reaction is how cool if this really were dimensional. Here, JudiLynn gives the illusion of five distinct levels to this composition. In the virtual world, each of these levels can be a plane that allows shadows that move as the viewer moves. The temptation to conceive of this direction in a 3D form is irresistible. Even a shadow-box approach offers compelling opportunities for the artist to explore more with these shadows. The suspension in space is very cool in the virtual canvas. Even so, this greater simplification of JudiLynn’s layered series is beautiful visually in color nuances and natural forms.
11. Originality – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
No matter how talented the artist, it is uniqueness of vision that sets each apart. Memorability. This is very hard to achieve in a genre that is so well-trafficked and has the illusion that it is easy to do. The worlds abound with ubiquitous abstraction. It is in every single gallery I visit. Samples can be collected of abstract works that have no identity as they could have been done by any number of experimenting artists. To bring a new vision and style, to stand out in such a symbolic form takes a deep searching. It must combine concept with technique so that it stands out and speaks its own visual language.
“FreeFlight” is my favorite of JudiLynn’s works because it exemplifies all of these components of abstraction. The layers belie that details are close and dark is far. It turns upside down that warm colors advance and cools could step back for forward. What is this space being looked into, with splashes of red on a surface but a molten undercurrent? It is mysterious, organic, and geological. It sets up a conflict between the emotionally charged reds against a containing environment. It feels that a moment of evolution is caught, but it is one that will last for a while. In this fantasy realm, there is safety and danger, stability and change, conflict and resolution. It reminds of forces that are always rotating in phases or cycles. There is an eternity present that gives the mind a place to settle in acceptance.
JudiLynn’s abstraction takes the viewer on a visual journey of forms. In her search to find a unique voice, she educates as she satisfies the visual desire for beauty and meaning. Although not the most avant garde artist to be found, she invents within traditional para- meters. Yet, in seeing her works in a succession, the latest are the strongest. Through incorporating about all the components of abstraction, she finds herself.
“As an intuitive explorer in the realm of form and hue, there are times when I become the spectator of the work in progress. I approach each piece with curiosity as it develops before my eyes, decisions being made layer by layer. My digital pieces begin simply, then explode in every direction as I manipulate the images, shapes, colors, stopping only when the composition speaks to my spirit and sensibilities. It’s at that point that I must trust there will be a similar response from the viewer, but knowing each painting will elect a different, exciting perspective. My paintings are ever-evolving. Therefore, I remain motivated. The virtual world has kept me moving forward, always looking to build on my previous work. It has proven a wonderful platform for market research as well. I consider it a blessing to be able to interact with and be inspired by artists from around the world.” —JudiLynn India
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