Acclaimed London artist Amy Judd unveils a monumental collection of Flora paintings in a spectacular solo show at Hicks Gallery this spring. Beautifully Obscure sees Amy Judds signature female figures, captured on an impressive scale in oil on canvas, transformed into Amazonian goddesses obscured by, enveloped in and armed with gigantic, voluptuous blooms.
Taking her inspiration from the Roman Goddess Flora the Sabine-derived divinity of flowers and symbol of nature, fertility, sex and youth Amys paintings signal a contemporary reimagining and revision of traditional mythology, placing the female form at their core. Everything for me starts with looking at the relationship between women and nature, and I take free rein from there. This Flora collection signals a thematic shift, moving on from a folkloric exploration of birds, animals and feather nudes into one cohesive collection of floral works.
In these bold artworks the fragile, blousy beauty of the flowers is transformed into surreal and sculptural works of art. The petals become suits of armour, helmets, masks and headdresses, while the women they cover stand tall as true viragoes - monuments to female strength, stillness, power and beauty. Robed in crisp white clothes, at once modern and timeless, these are not conventional, yielding Muses.
Strong and assured, they are multi-faceted; they may be vulnerable or powerful, whimsical or smoulderingly sensual. The attitude of their body language is of today. They are less gentle, less objectified than the conventional paintings of myths. Amy comments Because of the scale, the petals gain a strength and abstraction, and the women are now larger than life; you cant ignore them. The anonymity of the figures is key to Amys art, creating an air of ambiguity and curiosity and gifting the viewer space to construct their own narrative
Beautifully Obscure marks Amy Judds third major solo show with Hicks Gallery
, and her first in more than three years. It comes following a meteoric rise to international acclaim, with private collectors including Hollywood actress Kate Hudson who in a recent InStyle magazine interview cited Amy as the artist I adore - and supermodel and businesswomen Miranda Kerr.
Her work recently featured in a four-page spread for Harpers Bazaar USA and a large-scale butterfly nude was commissioned by Grosvenor House Hotel.
Hicks Gallery co-director Alice Hicks says: We have represented Amy for 14 years and in that time we have had numerous sell-out collections, Amy's work has been featured in a Neiman Marcus campaign, graced multiple book covers and last year she produced her largest work to date for Grosvenor House Hotel. Her popularity only increases.
Her work has developed a large international following and is shipped to clients all around the world. Amy is a true artist, driven by her love to paint. Her latest work represents a new confidence to concentrate the show around one central theme.
Among the works on display is the monumental Blue Jay Girl (pictured), whose female figure has her face partially obscured by pink peonies, upon which a richly hued bird is perched. Amys use of the Blue Jay borrows from its symbolic character of mischief and stubbornness, imbuing his female companion with the same qualities she too is assured, bursting larger than life from the canvas. The bird is at once her surreal ornament and her spirit guide, as the petals unfold in mammoth, uncurling shapes from her head.
Meanwhile, in Warrior (pictured), the central female figure stands in profile, still and strong as a soldier with one giant cluster of petals encircling her like a helmet.
In the softer composition that is Head in the Blooms (pictured), a woman gazes up into the flowers head tilted, as if in meditation. Despite the gentler pose, she has a steady, calm surety and the flow of her shoulders and neck into the statuary form of the petals merges woman with nature.