Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tiny figures have a lot to say

Artist Judith Kindler taps into emotions

Express Staff Writer

"Gathering I" by Judith Kindler. Mixed media, resin, metal, calcium carbonate, encaustic at Gail Severn Gallery.

Artist Judith Kindler loves to be challenged and will go to any length to express her ideas through her art. Kindler's latest exhibition, "Gathering Together" at the Gail Severn Gallery in Ketchum, is a combination of mixed-media paintings, sculpture and an installation that all explore human nature.

"I have 254 chairs with little guys on them," Kindler said. "This will be the first time it will be shown outside of my studio."

The installation, titled "Gathering I," is a peek into people's emotions and wellbeing. It is a narrative piece that illustrates faceless figures. Kindler said she put an enormous amount of time and energy into each chair and figure for the installation so they would all be distinctive. Kindler combines "Gathering I" with several paintings and other sculptures that continue her exploration of human emotion with birds, threads and other unique subjects.

"I have been working on the series with the little guys in the chairs for a few years," she said. "The idea captured my imagination. I created little figures, which are faceless and non-definable, but they represent all of us. They are all the different gestures and emotions and life as we know it and what we all share."

The figures sit in different ways and the scale of the work is alluring. Kindler has taken a fresh and non-judgmental approach to the emotional state of humans. The work is playful and informative as well as very revealing of people, even though the figures have no identity. Kindler said she spent many hours sanding and grinding to create the installation, which was made from a process involving resin, encaustic methods, metal and calcium carbonate.

"Figurative work always involves some psychological nuance or sense of isolation," she said. "There is a sense we all sit, wait and look around and study the posturing of everyone. I knocked around the idea of commonality with human drama, sad emotions and other things we all share in common."

Kindler added empty chairs to "Gathering I" to heighten the sense of drama in the installation to illustrate that a person might be missing because a filled chair has much more of a sense of importance. She said it's a very emotional time and that is reflected in this work.

"People see it and relate to me how gratifying it is," Kindler said. "They get the contrast of the individual sitting in a chair but that individual is isolated, and that is a commonality we all share."

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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