Judith Henry

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Artist’s Statement

During my art career I have used various multi-media techniques to both explore and hide identity. I examine the friction between the interior life and public self. To stress anonymity, I have often used masks in my work. In this issue of Posit I am showing work from two series done recently. Beauty Masks is a book consisting of self-portraits made by covering my face with “found” faces. There are 120 self-portraits in this book. I juxtapose images of model’s faces ripped from fashion magazines over my own face as a mask. The images I have chosen to disguise myself are diverse in their race, hairdo, accessories and dress. There’s a stark contrast between the retouched and made-up faces and my actual hands and body — a reminder of the commodification of idealized beauty and a reflection of the fear of death. The second series, Casting Call, is a collection of almost 300 miniature sculptures made of detritus found in my studio, on the streets and in my kitchen. I utilized adhesive tape, push pins, paint tubes, sponges, cotton balls, swabs, nails, clips, screws, anything and everything I was able to glean. These recombinant icons emerged as an installation at BravinLee Projects in 2018.They extend my exploration of personal identify by creating humanoid surrogate identities that stand in for my hidden persona(s). The diversity of forms reflect the huge disparity found in any crowd. Having pursued a detached, perhaps secretive, or voyeuristic observation of people throughout my career, I believe that my work has evolved into a unique and revelatory depiction of human nature in all its diversion and mass commonality.
Judith Henry is a multi-media artist, born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. After receiving a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, she moved to New York and started making art that explored the misalignments between cultural representation and inner psychology. She utilizes drawing, photography, typography, video, painting, sculpture, and bookmaking. Henry has shown her art in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Cleveland, Philadelphia and internationally in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, London and Switzerland. Her most recent solo shows were at BravinLee programs, New York, 2015 and 2018, Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, 2016 and The National Arts Club, New York, 2017.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom, winner of the 2017 Washington Prize, Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, New American Writing, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, Verse Daily, and VOLT.