Gallery  January 29, 2018  Megan D Robinson

Tom Judd’s Disruption Recontextualizes History

Courtesy Robischon Gallery

Tom Judd, Washington, oil on panel with found objects, 321/4 x 241/2 in (81.9 x 62.2 cm)

Tom Judd: Disruption

Robischon Gallery
1740 Wazee St
Denver, Colorado

January 11 through March 3, 2018 

Philadelphia artist Tom Judd’s exhibition Disruption opened in Denver, at the Robischon Gallery January 11th. Judd’s  painterly compositions juxtapose historical images, botanical and natural beauty and found objects to recontextualize meaning. “I am interested in the chance associations which suggest something contradictory and hopefully create more questions than answers. It is this combining of imagery that can trigger memories and thoughts, a kind of visual poetry,” Judd says.

The artist uses a multitude of sources, including family photographs, old tabloids, maps, blueprints and odd objects of interest. His unexpected combinations – a botanical illustration of geraniums growing into and around a textbook George Washington, cleverly framed with colored yardsticks, or an early Mt. Rushmore superimposed over brickwork and scaffolding – encourage viewers to reexamine history, humanity and politics. Judd seeks to meaningfully disrupt the viewers’ ideas and expectations: “Disruption causes communities to wake up and reminds them to think differently – to look at our connectedness. The certainty of our lives is brought into focus, delineated by a chance or unexpected event.”

His exhibition is carefully arranged so the works engage each other. A painting of a volcano hangs near the Mt. Rushmore piece. This proximity hints at the molten drama possible in both nature and politics. His installation piece, Don’t Fence Me In, combines a deconstructed cabin wall, a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, a writing desk with a kitschy bust of President Kennedy, and a window view of a snow capped volcano. This sets up a dialogue about slavery, civil rights and political and social upheaval. Judd examines our history and myths, combining disparate imagery into a thoughtful, coherent commentary on being human and the possibility of new ways of seeing. Judd says, “Disruption is a reorganization – a means to clear a completely different path."

Tom Judd: Disruption runs through March 3, 2018 at the Robischon Gallery, in Denver, Colorado. Learn more about the exhibition.

About the Author

Megan D Robinson

Megan D Robinson writes for Art & Object and the Iowa Source.