JUDITH YOURMAN'S work traverses media, from ceramic sculpture to multimedia installation, prints, video
and animation. A recent Minnesota State Arts Board grantee, she is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including awards from the NEA, McKnight and Jerome Foundations. Her work appears in permanent and private collections, including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art. She taught in the art departments of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges, and has created arts programming for public schools in Minnesota. Yourman received her BFA from Pratt Institute and an MFA from the University of MN. She currently resides in Saint Paul, MN.
STATEMENT In my current body of work the visual and emotional vocabulary of childhood, full
of monsters and creatures, exuberance and fears, creates metaphors for the complexities of
contemporary life. It is a loose response to the early drawings of my twin daughters, which have
inspired and moved me by their simplicity, humor, beauty, and honesty of emotion, resulting in
an ongoing dialogue between their original images and my own. Exploring their expressionistic
imagery, rich in pathos and humor, has been like learning a new language. This, in turn, has
provided a creative point of departure to make art that is at once both serious and playful,
reflecting the humanity of our times.
The flow of my work from one media to another, such as drawing, clay and prints, allows me to
transform my ideas and imagery into new forms that communicate with each other in dialects of
a common visual language. I create art in a process of iterations, where drawings inspire my
sculpture, which are transformed into photographs, drawings and collage. In this process, photos
of sculpture are stripped of color, sometimes laser printed and painted, others times they are
altered to appear as drawn imagery. This process also informs my ceramic wall drawings, in
which imagery is incised into clay and colored with black stain. I utilize different clay bodies, as
an alternative to colored glazes, for the variety of textures and colors they provide, and to
compliment the rawness of image and emotion within the forms. Creating groupings that speak
to the present, while alluding to the past through hints of allegories and archaeological forms,
allows me to create multiple points of entry for views to engage.
Recently I have explored twinned or mirrored imagery. Nearly identical, but not quite;
companions, each complete in itself, yet more complete side by side. I draw in clay, as on
beautiful textured art papers, nudging the boundaries between ceramics and drawing, paper and
clay. I have also begun to pair my imagery with traditional print forms including block printing
and silkscreen. These processes are allowing me to expand my visual vocabulary, as well as this
body of work, infusing a new sense of experimentation and discovery, while adding another
visual voice to the chorus of my work.