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 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.
Clay, found-objects, pencil, 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 a stated message. For example, the assemblages are created by combining found objects with molded ceramic vessels. Although I am subverting the genre, the traditional, utilitarian use of clay is 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 the mundane.
I reject the commercial art world’s shallow fiscal motives and am instead drawn to the examining of what truly has meaning, as well as how objects (or images) may become powerful and sacred. In what ways can we honor its history? Should its 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. By contrast, the 'Relics' represent a reinvention of the symbolism of humble, ordinary objects. These works attempt to resurrect and fundamentally redeem that which was discarded. Finally, the stark images of the watercolor and ink series 'The Waiting' represent an effort to reframe the essentially mundane, in dynamic tension with the mysterious and mystical.
It is my hope that the work dwells in the sacred space between power and surrender; between doubt and faith; between the ordinary and the sublime. At once worthless yet sacred; not unlike ourselves.