About the artist

Judith Wolfe is an American artist based in France since the '60s. After many years in Paris, she finally settled in Burgundy, where she can be found working in her light-filled atelier in the attic of her farmhouse. She has exhibited widely throughout France, and has also exhibited overseas, in the United States and Canada.

Judith Wolfe studied with the painter John Ferren at Queens College in New York and later with Oskar Kokoschka in Salzburg, before settling in Paris in 1966. The girl student, who had trained as a dancer at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School, moved on to womanhood as a painter.

What we see today as a mature balance between space and content in her powerful gesture, was initially influenced by the European expressionists. She pursued this, growing in her distinct use of strong color and expressive brushwork on canvas and in prints. Then in 1976, greatly impressed by Matisse’s monumental collages, Wolfe began a series of large-scale works on paper.

After mastering painting on paper, tearing, cutting, layering it to achieve a final structure, she now compliments and juxtaposes these primary blues, reds, and yellows with the whites of the paper and black ink drawings. We feel a physicality as whites are often gauged, punctured or left quietly and black Chinese ink flows. In the late ‘90s, phrases and bits of poems slipped in from her past, confronting the present with intriguing messages.

Wolfe’s recent works reflect her concern for growing alienation in an unstable and rapidly changing environment. At the same time her works, through her vibrant use of color, enhance a sense of hope.
— Kate Van Houten, Paris
Judith Wolfe’s large paintings are vertical, they hang free of stretchers and float like banners, reminiscent of those that can be found in churches by the Breton coast. When she began working in this way, Wolfe wanted to be able to move about freely, unencumbered by weight. She wanted to be able, when the call for travel came, to roll up her works and take them with her.

Painting large sheets of paper, then tearing them and recomposing them is above all painting in an impulsive way, immersed in memory. Tearing is a way of modifying the first impulsive gesture, which is raw, too sentimental perhaps, and probably too narrative. Assembling and pasting with a more objective eye is a way of trying to recompose a feeling. When the torn parts are reassembled out of their initial order, the original painting loses its autobiographical connotations and the fragments become only traces of passion. As with time itself, when fragments of our life pass through our memory and fall away...

Judith Wolfe’s paintings are evocative of illuminations we may never achieve because life is made of separations and of limits. They are a homage, a dance, a celebration that look beyond the desire and urgency of the moment.
— Madeleine Dechamps (excerpts from exhibition catalogue at the American Center Paris)