Judith Emerson was a street painter in Jackson Square , the French Quarter in Ne Orleans. She began her fomal training as an artist at the Studio Arts Center International in Florence, Italy. Moving to New York City in 1987 she studied sculpture, painting, and drawing at the Art Students League for four years. She received recognition in the Annual Concours Show in the ASL Gallery for her sculpture (clay modeling and stone carving) in 1990 . She also studied at the Academy of Realist Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
"I paint in both oils and acrylics, but I love to draw: contour drawings, line drawings, and tonal drawings of the human form. (I do not believe I have 'a style'). Mediums for these reations are graphite pencils, charcoal, conte, pastel, as well as, pen and ink. From my former instructors at the League I have embraced the idea that drawing the human form from model, memory, and imagination should be within the capabilities of a truly accomplished artist. Therefore, the human figure for me is a point of departure ... a springboard into my personal creative visions."
The artist has participated in numerous group exhibitions from Oklahoma to France. These include St. Louis, New Mexico, Washington D.C. and New York. Of the four solo exhibitions of her work, "J. Houston-Emerson, Messenger" was in New York City at the American Indian House.
"I keep a home in Oklahoma where I also write and publish historical novels based on my American Indian heritage. I am a registered member of the Cherokee Nation but my heart beats 150 times a minute when I am back in New York. It is my second home."
As an educator, the artist has taught Art History ofthe American Indian and Elements of Drawing at the University of Central Oklahoma. The American Indian finds its way into her visual art, as well as, her writing but her themes are universal ones.
Poetry by the Author:
I come to be painted
Paint my face
I have rubbed my body
With the crimson clay of the earth
I have come to dance
I am a Redskin rubbed with the red earth
Sprinkle the golden mica over my head
I glitter and glisten in the dark
Moving toward the fire, among the trees, and the distant hills
I am Red, Red
I am of the earth and pure, pure ...
Purer than the driven snow
I have come all the way from Raventown
With my tobacco, my shakers, and the wing of a white swan
I have rubbed my body with the crimson clay of the earth
I am alive with ceremony
I am a Redskin .... here is my palette
Grandfather, paint my face
Look We're Being Watched!
Painting by Judith Houston-Emerson
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Judith Houston-Emerson's new paintings combine elements of landscape, abstraction and portraiture into one enigmatic, compelling and almost naturalistic image. The paintings suggest that seeing and believing are subjective acts without absolutes. Observation is a meeting of minds, a negotiated agreement between the artist's painterly devices and the viewer's various contraptions for seeing and perceiving.
With deep thought on perspective and the lenses through which we see, the idea that in many ways the outer world or "reality" is a fiction performed in our mind; nevertheless a combination of our nervous system and lived experiences. With interest in our awareness of our own thinking and sense perceptions, our consciousness; the approach, along with a sense of humor, reflects the irrational space of knowing and believing.
The paintings plant an idea about looking in through looking out; and to point in many directions without settling in any one place. Compositional devices can be rectangular, often circular or oval-like. They tend to suggest eyes or a glass to look through or things looking out. These forms exist in worlds that often evoke landscape elements like water, grass and sky, as well as the figure in nature.
These new Paintings are tactile, as well as, contemplated with carefullly combined experiential qualities of both full color and maneuvering brush strokes constructed by hand.
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