Judith Bledsoe, American (1938 - 2013)

Judith Bledsoe

Judith Bledsoe embodies the romantic artist's life most people experience only in dreams. The high-spirited daughter of a classical violinist, she grew up in California brimming with ideas. From her earliest days, Bledsoe was a seeker, yearning to live intensely in a suitable environment for a burgeoning creative soul. "I had no choice but to become an artist. I always drew and painted, and also wrote as a child. I made mythological things, stories, some atavistic things and strange faces."

Like many gifted and restless spirits, Bledsoe knew her artistic ambitions were outgrowing the town, and even the country of her youth. She needed history, splendor, pageantry. The alluring pull of the Continent proved too strong to resist. The artist fled to Europe at 16, craving experience and artistic freedom. While lesser spirits may have been daunted by such a bold leap, Bledsoe was enthralled with the beauty of the art all around her. In Paris, she was able to absorb, adapt, and ultimately create her own joyous vision of life.

She also began her lifelong love affair with printmaking. For several years she worked with the Imprimerie Nationale de France, the official print shop of France, and was later given the honor of creating "The Spirit of the Print Shop," the official lithograph of this organization. Bledsoe herself describes printmaking as " a fatal malady & quite incurable. (It is) a fascination and a joy, which I find more and more exciting & I love the hand press and the big flat machine and the atmosphere of the print shop." In an age when all is calculation and deliberate effect, Judith Bledsoe is, and has always been, inextricably linked with her art. She did not have to create a form of art; she has always lived it. Her world, the people in the Parisian streets, the cats frolicking outside her house, the stories she created as a child--all of these are interpreted and effortlessly transformed into paintings, prints, sculptures, and collages.

Indeed, she has often felt overwhelmed after walking around the city on a particularly beautiful day, when the richness and multiplicity of subjects for painting seemed unending. For Judith Bledsoe, everything around her has a story to tell. This depth of feeling and sensitivity permeates all of Bledsoe's work, whether the subject is the joys of human friendship or the persistent bonds of memory. Suffused with the glow of everyday happiness, works by the artist transcend our traditional notions of daily living--they offer hope, spontaneity and limitless potential. Judith Bledsoe's works are to be lived with, reflected upon, and cherished.

Leslie Schenk:

"Judith Bledsoe’s delicious oeuvre exemplifies a great truth about the art of figurative painting: representation is idea, color is emotion. This puts her one-up on abstract painters who have only colors to work with, any of their non-evocative ideas as arbitrary as Rorschach inkblots. Whether she depicts the infinite varieties of the human face, cats or watermelons, idea is there, and emotion, too, with the extra oomph provided by her extraordinary sense of what happens between form and form, between form and color, between one color and another. Most ingratiatingly, the emotion her paintings invariably give rise to is joy. We don’t have many painters in our new millennia who arrive at that. "

What’s more, she recently created the decors for a Paris production of  Jean Cocteau/Darius Milhaud’s ‘Boeuf sur le Toit’ and, in a completely  different style, for another called ‘Broadway’.  Ever versatile, she  also delights in painting, numbering and signing T-shirts as well as  shoes and boots commissioned by a fashionable Left Bank Paris  boutique, no less,, samplings of which have been prominently displayed  there.  Her paintings have been shown in many cities across the USA  (Las Vegas, San Francisco, etc), and recently in several Right-Bank  galleries in Paris including a show  at the Mona Bismarck Foundation  this summer.

Whether from her earliest lithographs to her latest paintings, collages or sidelines, you live with a Judith Bledsoe opus, you are daily reminded how good it is to be alive".

Bledsoe made her home and studio in Paris, France for the remainder of her life, where she died in 2013.

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