Judy McSween- Free Your Mind

From artist Judy McSween regarding her upcoming show, "Free Your Mind"


"It’s a liberating experience for me to approach my work without a preconceived image—with having only one goal to push myself beyond my comfort zone. That comfort zone originates from the process I’ve been following for years, so as I began painting for Free Your Mind, I asked myself, “How do I start differently?” No value studies, no multiple sketches, and no blocking in compositions as usual—I decided to create backgrounds comprised of patterned printed surfaces. I wanted playfulness and curiosity at the starting line. So I layered natural images printed directly on the surface with overlapping textures pressed onto the panels, and with washes of transparent color rubbed onto the piece and dripping to its edges. The resulting surfaces pulsated with rhythm, depth and color, making me wonder about imagined universes.

The process morphed into me throwing open my supply drawers, making everything accessible and anything possible. That’s the seed from which Free Your Mind has grown. Many of my new paintings are purley abstract, resulting from “mind moments” where the fluidity of lines are untouched and the overlapping colors intuitive. It also happened that the paintings flowed one into another, too. Working on multiple pieces of different sizes let me plant a “mind thought” in a new place to see how it manifested.

As I’ve painted, the idea of freeing my mind has taken on the meaning of immediacy, of letting one moment flow into another, and of banishing my tendency to overthink. Where thoughtful composition became absolutely necessary, as in the new paintings incorporating figures, I still wanted to convey the feeling of awe and inspiration that opening your mind brings. Those paintings are meant to direct viewers outward and upward—to the future— as well as to look inside themselves to what it means to be joyfully free of distraction and have an open mind.

A free mind truly opens you to a universe of thought, beliefs and opportunity. I know it’s not a coincidence that I’ve recently been reading about the artist Mark Rothko and discovered his inspirational words that seem perfect for my new work:  “A painting is not a picture of an experience; it is an experience. The artist invites the spectator to perform an aerial feat of flying from point to point, attracted by some irresistible magnet across space, entering into mysterious recesses.""



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