Judith A Mistor-Artist Statement
I am originally from Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in the quintessential urban landscape; in the shadows of the factories of the auto industry. Those stark industrial vistas have had a fundamental influence on my development as an artist, and as a result, I find that various urban artifacts comprise much of my visual vocabulary. I enjoy using these relatively meaningless elements in order to compose meaningful commentary, whether in my two-dimensional or my three-dimensional work.
Ceramic, found-objects, graphite, ink, and watercolor are all integral vehicles of my process. I am inspired by Louise Nevelson, Tyree Guyton, Edward Hopper, religious symbolism, Primitive/Outsider art, post-industrial ruins, and especially my grandfather, Joe Mistor.
As a conceptual artist, media and methods are chosen in terms of what best delivers an intended message. For example, many of my assemblages are created by combining found objects with molded ceramic vessels. Although I am subverting the genre, the traditional, utilitarian use of clay is still loosely preserved. I choose ordinary plastic containers as clay molds: disposable, consumable, cheap, mass-produced--essentially worthless. I enjoy the transformative process when something that was once mass-produced and promptly discarded becomes unique, and thus transcended from its origins. One is then forced to re-evaluate these everyday objects in a new, unexpected way. The same may be said of much of my two-dimensional work, which likewise challenges the viewer to re-evaluate and witness the mundane and ordinary.
I reject the mainstream art world’s shallow fiscal motives and am instead drawn to the examining of what truly has meaning, as well as how objects and images may become powerful and sacred. In what ways can we honor their history? Should their value accumulate or diminish over time? Is the journey the atonement? Can intrinsic power ever exist, or is it simply a projection of our own beliefs? What about redemption?
The 'Strays' represent the collective nameless and disenfranchised. Inherent within that series is the assumption that when individuals gather, they gain power, potency, and agency both from their cause and from each other. Similarly, the 'Relics' represent a reinvention of the symbolism of humble, ordinary objects. These works attempt to resurrect and fundamentally redeem that which was discarded. Meanwhile, the stark, geometric images of the watercolor and ink series 'The Waiting' represent an effort to reframe man's metrics of power in dynamic, yet restrained tension with the infinite.
It is my hope that the work continues to dwell in that liminal, yet sacred space between power and surrender; between doubt and faith; between the ordinary and the sublime. Transformed by grace; at once worthless yet sacred-not unlike ourselves.