Munro’s landscapes are infused with a vivacity that is restorative. Not merely mapping the terrain, she suggests a feeling of open space and atmosphere, which almost induces an intake of fresh air.
Even winter’s bracing chill brings clarity. Roads are often included, which suggests a journey from somewhere, and tree-lined avenues offer a further destination into woods or fields.
Munro lays down her paints alla prima with such panache as to capture the invigorating effect of nature. Some of Munro’s landscapes are so vividly naturalistic that you can hear a loon’s cry.
In others, the artist embellishes the color and intensifies perceived patterns, which evokes a heightened sensory or emotional effect. Within tree-filled spaces, trunks run from the bottom to the top of the canvases, implying the sheltering canopy above. Gathered in rhythmic arrays, these sharply drawn bands composed of sinuous contours provide both structure and spatial complexity, with some arranged on the surface picture plane and others staggered throughout.
Interpenetrating grasses, bushes, and leaves add soft contrast, as do shifts in tonality that suggest varying light. Using complementary colors such as blue and orange, Munro creates a visual snap as well as counterpoint of cool and warm sensations — like simultaneously feeling the chilly damp of the forest floor and the heat of the sun as it filters through the branches above. Rather than the disconnect of being alone, these landscapes offer the immersion and richness of solitude in which one can get in touch.
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*Artist: Judy Munro
Judy Munro has been involved with art as far back as she can remember. When Judy was in the first years of grade school she drew a picture of a horse in one of her classes. Her teacher showed it to the school principal, who in turn, called her parents to advise them to encourage her artistic ability and Judy's parents instantly became her biggest supporters, looking for every opportunity to get her involved in art, on any level.
After grade school, Judy attended the local high school for one year and then her parents encouraged her (insisted really) to switch schools and enroll in the art curriculum at Cass Technical high school. At that time, Cass Tech’s art department was well known and very well respected, with good reason. It was a fabulous place to be. Not only did art students have a demanding series of classes in school, they also had on-site drawing classes and figure classes after school in a nearby studio. Judy was like a sponge, soaking up all the basics, learning how to “see” and how to draw what was seen. Judy credits Cass Tech with instilling in her the fundamentals of color, perspective, figure drawing and art appreciation.
In her senior year at Cass, Judy won a scholarship to attend Pratt Institute in New York, where she completed her first two years of art studies. A critical family illness called her home after her second year and she ended up working at a succession of several art related jobs in the Detroit area. For a short period of time, Judy kept her hand in art and sold a number of drawings and mixed-media pieces at local art festivals. But, for the most part, she was drifting without a strong direction.
Then, in 1974, Judy chose to enter the corporate design world, where she spent the next 33 years in a successful career that culminated in a position as Creative Director for a local corporation. During this time Judy also completed her BFA degree at Wayne State University in Detroit and attended law school for two years. In January 2009, the company Judy was employed with went through a downsizing. The creative functions and management were moved to their New York office and her department was eliminated.
Overnight, Judy found herself with the freedom to make a choice about her future and decided it was time to finally, and seriously, pursue what she had left behind years ago. So, in May 2009, after many years, Judy picked up a paintbrush and recommitted herself to her art.
Since then, Judy's work has shown in numerous statewide juried shows and solo exhibitions. Her paintings have been published in a book featuring outstanding emerging artists and she is currently represented by seven galleries in Michigan, Ohio and Chicago. A prolific artist, her paintings are in private and public collections across the US and in Canada.
Judy Munro's paintings, direct and intuitive, are bold, rich and beautifully textured explorations of the emotive qualities of color and light. Her landscapes and cityscapes, at first glance based in impressionism, incorporate an expressionistic edge that often moves into abstraction. The result is an astonishingly varied body of work that skillfully blends the viewpoints of all three genres.
“My paintings are a combination of observation, imagination and “memory fragments”, bits and pieces of sights, sounds, smells and feelings experienced and remembered, a myriad of lasting impressions now translated, alla prima, into paint on a surface. I’m drawn to the way realism and abstraction merge in the landscape. Lines and edges are lost and found, horizontal and vertical grids dissolve into flowing color and then restructure, foreground and background shift and deep space becomes flat plane. And at some point, the paint itself, it’s texture, color and form takes on a life of its own and becomes an equal partner in the landscape statement.”
Paint Creek 2
Redbuds | 36 x 36 | Oil on Board, Framed
at the Woodbury, MN Gallery
River Redbuds | 40 x 30 | Oil on Board, Framed
at the Woodbury, MN Gallery
River Trees | 60 x 40 | 2-Panel, Oil on Board
at the Hudson, WI Gallery