Sunday, October 02, 2016

Judy Glantzman: The Eye of the Storm

Judy Glantzman

You would have to say that Judy Glantzman has always liked people. It shows. They are what she paints. Always. All the way back to the middle 70s at RISD. Is it any surprise that she is the nicest person in the art world. She always has a smile.

Judy Glantzman, Untitled, 1999, Oil on canvas  
90" x 80" 

But what happens in her paintings is different. In them we get everything else. It makes her work layered and complicated and wide and deep. The word root comes to mind.

                   Judy Glantzman, Sarah, 2009, oil on canvas, 8 x 8 inches

The people she paints seem to come from the old country. Her loose abstract way of zeroing in on her subjects takes us down or back to their roots. It is a rather startling experience that has always been in her paintings. Like her smile, it is her gift, and between the two is a chasm.

I gave up trying to reconcile Judy and her work a long time ago. I very quickly learned to like the difference, and trust the difference, even if I was always taken aback or confused by it. Something about her steady and centered presence, her lung capacity, has always allowed her to go that much deeper and to places unknown. She likes to look. I like to look. But Judy has a kind and unwavering and penetrating and dreamy gaze. It is what brings her and her paintings together. We would not get one without the other.

Judy Glantzman, Jojo's Pink

The calmness of Judy Glantzman allows her to court chaos. She is the eye of the storm. The marks and experience of the work swirl around her. Her searing, dare I say haunting, vision cuts down to the bone. Her portraits are fiercely surgical in this regard. A companion to the likes of Soutine, Giacometti, Bacon and Kahlo. She peels away skin and tissue and ligament to find not just what is at the bottom but whatever paths lead elsewhere. And she takes us there. By the hand. In an entirely unspoken way, where words fail us, as though in a dream.

Judy Glantzman | Shakespeare's Pirate, 2011
gesso, acrylic, walnut ink, india ink, chalk, sharpie,
 and graphite on paper, 91.25 x 60 inches

And yet there is this thing. Or three things. Paint, portrait, rectangle. In other words, she works within an art tradition that goes back past de Kooning and Turner and Velasquez and da Vinci. Her subject is as old as cave paintings: us. She works within the constrained confines of the post and beam, window, box, frame. And yet! She finds something worth painting, worth contemplating, worth reshuffling the deck for, worth a seat at art's table, worth a place at the front of the line. Perhaps it comes from that gleam in her eye, a certain whimsy, maybe even mischief in regard to that aforementioned art tradition. Indeed, she keeps breaking the mold and starting afresh, and she takes us along for our own edification. How remarkable is that!

THE RIDE, 2008
Oil on canvas
40 1/4 x 58 in.

In a contemporary avant garde art world where the fashion&design aesthetic rules, and the restrictions and tyranny of the picture plane and the use of gooey pigments makes painting quaint at best, and tiresome and irrelevant at worst, Judy Glantzman has found a way to keep blazing her way to make painting not just matter, but get under our skin.

Oil on canvas
88 1/4 x 77 inches

Is it also worth noting that what ultimately guides her is not the invention of form at all. No, it is her vision that informs the paint. There have been people who have suggested that van Gogh only painted the way he did because of some visual impairment. He saw like his paintings. I don't know. I never liked that because it seemed to rob him of his genius. But with Judy Glantzman, it is rather her genius that the way she paints is the direct result of how she sees, and her capacity to see. To dress us and herself down, to strip us down, to get at what is underneath, in the nicest way possible.

Untitled, Judy Glantzman, 1994, painting

Judy Glantzman

Addison Parks
Artdeal Magazine
Spring Hill, October 2016

Judy Glantzman is represented by the Betty Cuningham Gallery in New York City.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


What a lovely surprise! I have read the Judy Glantzman (I know Judy from grad school and you were spot on), Milton Resnick, Gregory Amenoff reviews and am exhilarated by your words and of course the work! You have such a poetic voice. Your insights are fresh, honest and unfiltered. I am rejuvenated in spirit and brush! Thank you for sharing this and I look forward to reading all of your posts. What a gift you have.

Thank you again Addison.
Sally Jacobs