Color and pattern are fundamental instruments in the work of Chicago-based artist Judy Ledgerwood (American, born 1959)—attributes she has been dynamically refining in her oversized canvases, installations, and ceramics since the 1980s.
For over 30 years her work has been distinguished by a visual vocabulary comprising intentionally decorative motifs that, at times, extend well beyond the edge of the canvas, taking over entire walls or rooms. Ledgerwood derives the circles, quatrefoils, and seedlike forms that often populate her work from symbolic shapes associated with Paleolithic and Neolithic goddess cultures throughout Europe, though they also recall patterns used in fashion, design, and the decorative arts.
“My work challenges the authority of the grid by creating paintings that provoke an optical experience often characterized by afterimages, retinal fatigue, and other fugitive, ephemeral, and transient experiences that cannot be predicted, controlled, or legislated,” says Ledgerwood. Using intense colors, she organizes the forms within triangles and chevrons that the artist perceives as ciphers of feminine power.
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