Judy LevitOakland, CA
I am inspired to paint by everyday moments which are a continuing source of visual and emotional stimulation, The mind-expanding experience of traveling to China, Africa and Europe in the past few years has led me to open up the corresponding pictorial space in my work, leading to a brighter palette and airier compositions.
I create my abstract paintings as much from images in the world as from my imagination and dreams. The process of painting is a journey inward into wordless and symbolic space, exploring an internal landscape. I layer marks, color and texture, following the intriguing shapes and images that materialize until they lead to unexpected and surprising destinations. This process can be effortless and thrilling as the painting seems to create itself, but sometimes can be painstaking as I work to discover just the right shapes, textures and colors to express my intent. Using charcoal, acrylic, hand-painted collage papers, fabric, found papers and newsprint, I compose and then paint directly on the canvas without planning. As I apply the materials, they inspire new ideas, each step suggesting another. I work on many paintings at once, putting each aside until it seems unfamiliar and new again.
Working in this way, I can create rich, luminous colors, pattern and texture. In my work as a psychotherapist, I listen for what is unspoken and sometimes unconscious. In painting, I think of the lines and marks that appear and disappear as the thoughts and impulses living within me and all of us, unspoken but articulate.
Judy Levit is a California artist who lives and works in Oakland. Before settling down, Levit lived in Guadalajara, Mexico, learned Spanish, taught English as a Second Language in Tlaquepaque and, inspired by the colorful language and people, began to paint daily. Her first figurative paintings were depictions of dreams and often included fantasy animals. Later, she began to explore the expression of feelings and the formal elements of painting through abstraction. She found that seeing an abstract painting take form was similar to reflecting on a dream; the meaning was often clearer with some distance.
Levit now creates abstract, mixed media paintings. Drawing from many sources of inspiration, and using found papers, fabric remnants, her own cut up drawings and dream journals, she works intuitively. Her observations of the everyday world, travel to many countries and immersion in their cultures as well as her own imagination and dreams evoke images and ideas. In her practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist, Levit listens for what is felt but unspoken. As an artist, she explores an internal landscape and discovers an experience of mystery.
Levit has been exhibiting her work in the Bay Area since 2004 and has participated in numerous group exhibitions including Alchemy at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art in Novato, the Annual Juried Exhibition at Falkirk Cultural Center in San Rafael, and ARTiQUES at the San Francisco Design Center. In 2008, Levit had a solo show at Studio D in the Oakland Hills. Her paintings are featured in Studio Visit Magazine, a juried selection of international artists, Volumes 10 and 11, 2010. In 2011 her work was purchased by the Alameda County Art Commission to be added to their public art collection. In 2012, Levit's work was selected to be shown in Falkirk's 2012 Annual Juried Exhibition, in the Napa Valley Museum's show entitled Take a Chance on Miniatures and most recently, in the 3 person show Loss & Discovery at Oakopolis Gallery in downtown Oakland. Levit is represented by the SFMOMA Artists Gallery at Fort Mason in San Francisco, California