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Judy Hill: The Self Transparent, From the Collection of Driek and Michael Zirinsky

May 19, 2009 - January 3, 2010


This summer, Bellevue Arts Museum presents a rare opportunity to see Portland-based artist Judy Hill's largely autobiographical glass and ceramic figurines. Judy Hill: The Self Transparent, From the Collection of Driek and Michael Zirinsky highlights over 13 sculptures and four works on paper spanning two decades of artistic self-expression while at the same time exploring the unique relationship between the artist and her collectors. (right Judy Hill, Very Gently Now, 1997, Kiln cast glass and raku ceramic, 12 x 6 x 3 inches. Photo: Kazuyuki Okamoto)

Combining the crackled surface of raku ceramic with the transparency of cold-mold glass, Judy Hill's figurines inhabit the space with an unexpectedly charged psychological presence. The frozen stare, stance and gestures of Hill's figures convey feelings of vulnerability, contemplation and worry, while the fragmented bodies and surface texture of her forms bestow upon the sculptures an ancient, artifact-like quality. Through the translucence of the glass, Hill reinforces the figures' fragility, while through exploitation of the medium's inherent lightness she draws the viewer into the inner life of the figure, revealing the self within. As intensely personal self-portraits, Hill's figures become engaging psychological studies in which unspecified narratives of expectation, anticipation, and dilemma unfold.

Born in Galveston, Texas, Judy Hill currently resides and works in Portland, Oregon. Over the past two decades, Boise-based art collectors Driek and Michael Zirinsky have developed a deep friendship with the artist and her unusual work. Of the sixty figurines ever produced by Hill, the Zirinsky's count an astounding one-quarter of the artist's work as part of their collection. "Transparency and self are big parts of what one sees in my work, but I feel that the remarkable thing about this show is not so much my work, but that someone has so much of it" Hill states. "They may in a way know my work more than I do. They have seen more of it. They have continued to support my efforts. I have believed in my abilities in a way that without them I might not otherwise."

Judy Hill: The Self Transparent, From the Collection of Driek and Michael Zirinsky is organized by Bellevue Arts Museum and curated by Stefano Catalani.


Wall text from the exhibition

Approximately ten of Hill's sculptural works and four works on paper will be on view at Bellevue Arts Museum from the collection of Driek and Michael Zirinsky, who have long been passionate supporters of Hill's work.
Judy Hill earned her BA at Falmouth School of Art, Cornwall, England in 1976, and received her MFA at Louisiana State University in 1987. She was the recipient of the 2003 Artist of the Year Award from Portland Contemporary Craft Museum, as well as numerous fellowships and scholarships over the past two decades. Hill currently teaches at Portland Community College in Portland, OR.
Hill has numerous solo and group shows to her credit, including exhibitions at The Museum of American Glass, Wheaton, NJ; Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Hokkaido, Japan; Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; Austin Museum of Art, Austin, TX; and the Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI among many others. Her work is featured in private and public collections around the United States, including Boise Art Museum, Boise, ID; The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY; Philbrook Museum, Tulsa, OK; J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY; and Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA.

(above: Judy Hill, Sour Grapes, 1994, Kiln cast glass and raku ceramic, 22.5 x 7.5 x 4.5 inches. Photo: Harold Wood)


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