46 Waltham Street, Studio #204
Boston, Massachusetts 02118
Judy Riola is a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Vassar College. She was the recipient of a Traveling Scholarship from the Museum and a Massachusetts Cultural Council Finalist in painting. She’s shown at galleries in Boston, New York, and California, and was included in New England/New Talent at the Fitchburg Art Museum and the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Artists Invitational Painting Exhibition.
She lives and works in Boston.
My newest body of work attempts to answer a question I’ve been asking myself for a long time: how specific a story do I want to tell? In my earlier oil paintings, forms had always hovered on the edge of recognizability. Often the narrative, such as it was, was visible only to me. But lately I’ve begun to feel an impulse toward story-telling, and my mixed media pieces have facilitated that impulse. By using pieces of cut paper, either print-outs of earlier paintings or textiles, I can introduce an unexpected element to the painting. This forces me to take a direction I wouldn’t have taken, to respond to that often jarring presence. When it becomes obvious that a certain shape is required, I make a pattern, then “audition” different looks. I build layers by alternating paper, gouache, and pencil, over and over, until a clearer narrative emerges. This combination of materials makes it easier to put into practice my belief that ideas come from the process itself. Ambiguity remains important to me. I want to suggest a story, but I also insist the viewer be invited to provide their own.
Titles like “Rescue Effort,” “Seaworthy Landlubber,” and “Hammerhead” reflect my concern with environmental
threats, particularly to the oceans. Often my imagery conjures imaginary escape routes or solutions born of desperation. The cartoonish shapes and bright colors are a form of whistling in the dark, a way of warding off a deep pessimism about our earth’s fate.
I’m excited to be in a four-person show at room83spring (room83spring.com) in late November/December. I love the other artists and I can’t wait to see us all together.
I welcome studio visits – just get in touch.
And follow me on Instagram – @judyriola. I’m a big Instagram fan.