Wednesday, October 11, 2023

A Tale of Two Titles

 In keeping with The Goddess Project theme of re-examining the mythology of all the religions, I painted the Necessary Evil triptych. It features two wise older women playing the roles of God and the Devil, in bathrobes, chatting over cups of endless coffee. Reminiscent of my own girls weekends where we begin with breakfast and talk nonstop into the lazy hours of the afternoon, these old friends strategize ways to fix the ills of the world. Read more about the triptych here.

All three panels of the Necessary Evil Triptych were on display in giclee format at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport for almost 6 months without a blip on the radar.


The Necessary Evil Triptych showed for 3 months in 2022 at the May Show at Lakeland. 

I told the world what it was about when I featured it on Living Figuratively!

I even sported my devilish horns and mustered Star Trek-inspired acting ability to rival that of William Shatner!

Nary a peep there either.


In July 2023, it was displayed again at the Ashtabula Arts Center as part of my solo show, The Goddess Project: Warriors.

This third showing was very different.

There’s a metaphor of how a single mosquito can wreak quite a bit of havoc under the covers in a dark bedroom. 

In Ashtabula, there was one very vocal and busy mosquito who worked very hard to let everyone know she was offended by the Necessary Evil Triptych, along with much of my work in the show. Whether it was boobs, blasphemy, bodily autonomy, or all three, she thought my paintings were not suitable for children coming to the center for art camps and music lessons. Never mind that most kids nowadays have access to all that the boobs, blasphemy, bodily autonomy and more that the internet and social media offers. 


I have to be flattered though, at how extensively she researched my work . She watched my Living Figuratively videos and quoted specific time markers where I got a Judeo-Christian bible story or character all wrong. The Greek myths I busted were only offensive because of the breasts. She researched my past work and lampooned the irreverence of my Chicks with Balls Project…not recognizing that she herself might also be a Chick with Balls; boldly speaking out and doing what she feels is best to protect her children. Quite a few of the women who posed for the Chicks project were deeply faithful, some were Pro-Life Christians.  They all connected with the female empowerment aspect of the project though.


This lone dissenter embarked upon an extensive email campaign, sending numerous, detailed, well-written and lengthy correspondences. She enlisted her pastor and friends to join in this effort.


She even started a well-designed website, featuring me and my work as the villain in the Ashtabula Art scene. There was even an online petition to sign!


A woman after my own heart, this very active activist, also wrote letters to the editor of the local paper about my offensive show, and how it should be permanently removed from the art center. 


She got her wish because my show was scheduled to close July 29 anyway. I brought the work home. It was never intended as a permanent installation. 


As much trouble as her campaign was…for the Art Center especially…I was definitely honored how intensely my work moved her! The worst thing an artist can suffer is to be ignored. She studied my work way more than people who actually like it! And, to her credit, she is an educated and well-spoken person who writes well. Unlike many of her compatriots in policing liberal ideas, she knows the difference between their, they’re and there…and also your and you're.


Perhaps this woman is my Type A, Virgo, doppelganger…though, as I've seen with doppelgangers in movies and books, it’s probably best if we never meet.


With the Necessary Evil Triptych home safe and sound, it was now mine to decided where she should be submitted next. 


My doppelganger made me wonder, is the painting really so evil…or is it just the title? I’ve had people of faith tell me they loved it because it brings God to their kitchen table, as a kind-hearted loving entity…literally warm and fuzzy in bathrobes! Fans have also enjoyed the wise grandmotherly female energy it conveys. And truly, I’m not starting a religion, or presenting icons to be worshipped, I’m just offering a different perspective to ponder. What if we saw our deities and creators as kindly old women…would there be less fire, brimstone, vengeance and violence in the world? Women are really all about creating stuff, not so much destroying it. 

The painting really isn't about evil at all. Necessary Evil needed a new name.

In my quest to find a new name for the painting I turned to the Bible, where I remembered verses about loving your enemy. I've always believed that if you’re looking for something in the bible…reasons to do evil, or reasons to do good…you will find it. 

Jesus came through for me with just the right quote in Matthew 5:44.


“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,


It was a perfect metaphor for the painting…God and the Devil sitting down together in peace; God literally doing the hard work of loving your enemy.


It was also a great metaphor for me and my doppelganger…though, like I said, I’d prefer never to meet.


The Necessary Evil triptych now has a new name; Matthew 5:44. I submitted the center panel to a wholesome and prestigious art show I submit to every year, in the very conservative deep south. 


I’m thrilled to say, Matthew 5:44 was accepted to Southwest Artists, Art of the Heartland show at the Mena Gallery in Arkansas…and, that she won the First Place Prize! 

Empowered by this sweet and calculated triumph of Good over Evil…I took a second look at the left and right panels of my triptych. 

It is no accident that they work so well together…I design all my dyptychs and triptychs to work independently or in alternate arrangements. They are also for sale as singles. 

I gave this diptych a new name, Matthew 5:44, The Holy Grail…Loving your enemy being the possibly unatainable holy grail. 

I entered her into the Annual National Juried Exhibition at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art. The WMOCA is a miracle of a museum, focusing on contemporary figurative realism. Masterminded by Museum Director, David Hummer, WMOCA proudly sits in the historic downtown of sweet, creative, welcoming and conservative Wausau, Wisconsin. 

Lo and Behold, she came through for me again! Matthew 5:44, The Holy Grail, was awarded Second Place by Museum Director, David Hummer…and I couldn't be more thrilled! I attended the jam packed Opening Reception with my honey and was honored to be part of such a prestigious National Show!

So, if that’s not incentive to love my enemies and pray for them, I’m not sure what is! 


Seventh Annual National Juried Exhibition
Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art
309 McClellan Street
Wausau, Wisconsin
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11:00 to 3:00

Seventh Annual National Juried Exhibition 
continues through December 30th.

Your Body, Your Decision

My Body, My Decision
Judy Takács
oil on canvas with collage

With her classic visage, my model reminded me of Michelangelo's monolithic David statue. His curly locks, sweeping eyelashes and smooth marble body are powerful, muscular and androgynous.

Michelangelo Buonarroti
Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze

It is notable that iconic, idealized male sculptures have all their limbs intact…unlike poor iconic Venus De Milo.

Venus De Milo
Alexandros of Antioch
Louvre, Paris

In the Judeo-Christian bible, David, a small but confident boy, bravely conquers the giant, Goliath, who has been terrorizing his city.

To re-imagine this story through a feminist lens, I cast my female model in Michelangelo’s David pose. A female underdog, she is poised to take down the patriarchy, as symbolized by the American flag, armed with a coat hanger that bears a message.


Patriarchal rule has, for eons, oppressed a woman’s right to education, equality, ownership, custody and even the right to make healthcare and reproductive decisions about her own body. 


Currently, heartbeat bills, gag orders, threats to defund Planned 

Parenthood, and a conservative majority Supreme Court which struck down Roe v. Wade, June 24, 2022… have taken the right to make this life-altering and very private reproductive healthcare decision away from women in Ohio and much of the nation.


To make our voices heard in Ohio, pro-choice activists hang coat-hangers, gruesome reminders of pre-Roe v.Wade back-alley abortions, on the fence surrounding the Ohio Statehouse.


I added bright pink laminated messages to the ones I hung.

“You’ll never stop abortions, just safe ones,” “Someone you love has had an abortion,” “Google Geri Santoro”, and an attempt to reach across the aisle with my pink hanger messages, “Ayn Rand was Pro-Choice.” Love her or hate her, she was Pro-Choice.


I also pointed out that, “A dead body has more bodily autonomy than a living woman.” As a human being, you have the right to decide whether or not to donate a kidney, bone marrow, platelets, blood or tissue. No court in the land can force you to, even if someone will die without it. 

That right extends to your cadaver. No court in the land can force your dead body to donate a cornea, a heart, liver, lungs, kidneys…even though people will die without them. The tissue and organs from your dead body can actually help or save 58 different people!


And, yet, a living woman’s whole body can be forced into service, 

mental and physical, sometimes risking her health and life, for nine months to a lifetime…in a land without reproductive freedom. 


A living woman does not even have the bodily autonomy of a corpse.


I am pro-abortion, just like I’m pro-appendectomy, pro-mastectomy, pro-gall bladder surgery. I’d rather not have any of these surgeries, but they must be safe and available if you or I or someone you love needs one. 


It's not all bad though. Right now, in Ohio we have hope. ISSUE ONE, The Reproductive Rights Amendment, is on the ballot for this November. You can read the full text of the amendment here, donate what you can and VOTE YES on ISSUE ONE before November 7th!


Trust Women.

Trust Women
Judy Takács
oil on canvas with collage

It's not all bad though. Right now, My Body, My Decision, Trust Women and my other Pro Choice paintings are on view at Chagrin Arts as part of my solo show designed to reach across the aisle to those who are Pro Life.

The show asks viewers to  see that the fingers of anti-abortion legislation will, at some point hurt someone you love in ways you hadn't considered. It is my hope that Ohio viewers will come from the show and decide to 
VOTE YES on ISSUE ONE this November.

Mothers, Women, Children, Choices

Chagrin Arts
88 North Main Street
Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Gallery Hours: M W F 11:00 to 4:00
Show continues through November 17, 2023


Saturday, May 21, 2022

Necessary Evil…a Triptych…showing at 12th Annual May Show at Lakeland

Necessary Evil Triptych
Judy Takács

There’s an episode of Star Trek where the transporter malfunctions and splits you into two versions of yourself during the beaming up process.  One of you is all good and the other one is all bad.


Thanks to filtered vs. stark lighting effects, melodious vs. bravura fight music and of course William Shatner’s razor-sharp acting skills…he can pivot on a dime between tortured closeups and the charming eye twinkle… we very quickly figure out which Captain Kirk is good and who is the evil twin. 


It takes the whole episode, however, to learn the true moral of this episode; that, in order to be a fully effective captain of a starship, one needs to embrace their good and evil sides; to temper kindness with strength, to temper nuanced deliberation with decisiveness, to temper heart with balls. 


The same balance between good and evil is also imperative for the characters from the Judeo-Christian Bible who many believe rule and shape our world. 

In the Judeo-Christian bible, the Devil began in heaven as an angel. He tried to organize a coup, which obviously angers God, who thrusts him out of heaven…Lucifer, the fallen angel. In the bible, God doesn’t actually put Lucifer in charge of Hell, but the piggy-back mythology surrounding fun-to-hate, fear and illustrate Satan, grew exponentially with the coming millennia.  The Devil’s job title grew closer to that of Hades, Lord of the underworld in Greek Mythology. Art, literature, politics, religion and power put Satan in charge of Hell as its evil ruler…pitchfork, fire and brimstone at the ready to punish you for eternity for your sins. 


Satan is pure evil. God is pure good…or is that mythology too? 


My conjecture is that without the threat of punishment, Gods admonishments to behave can fall on deaf ears…not all of us are good just “for goodness sake”…as the atheist and agnostic mantra goes.


It’s like a town without a police department. Judge and Jury with no executioner.

Necessary Evil, center panel
Judy Takács


The Necessary Evil Triptych is the latest painting from The Goddess Project, where I re-imagine the characters from the mythology of all the religions through a contemporary and analytical feminist lens.

My conjecture is that Satan does God’s dirty work. Though in the Old Testament God does plenty of His own dirty work…sending plagues, floods, obliteration, torture, mass killings of adult sinners and innocent infants alike…destruction to punish those who don’t obey the myriad list of rules He has set forth…don’t kill each other, don’t steal, don’t eat shrimp…


And, in punishing the guilty, the devil is actually doing the tough and thankless job of meting out justice…which, as citizens of the United States, we hold dear as a very good thing indeed.


The Devil is Bad Cop to God’s Good Cop.


God is Judge and Jury, the Devil is Executioner.


Rewards, as well as consequences are necessary to live in a fair and just society.


The branches of justice work together.


I have re-imagined God and Devil as old friends…as women…getting together for a long and soulful breakfast chat (in bathrobes with endless coffee) about what the heck they should do to fix the world. 


Brainstorming ideas, they have at their disposal, plagues, locusts, frogs, apples of temptation. 


God has brought a holy grail…but it is tipped implying that perfection on earth will never be achieved…perfection IS the holy grail.

Necessary Evil, left panel
Judy Takács


Necessary Evil, right panel
Judy Takács

Satan’s former angel wings are disheveled and torn, but she still wears them. 


The cheeky devil, a twinkle in her eye, tries on the halo for size.  She ultimately passes it back to God to wear. God chuckles at this, but also recognizes the irony.


This painting revisits the theme that when wise women put their heads together, much can be achieved, heaven and earth can be moved. I don’t actually believe that the devil or Hell…or Heaven for that matter…actually exist, which is why I have presented this concept in a playful manner. As for the existence of God? That’s a personal and complex belief system that I don’t peddle and appreciate when others don’t peddle theirs to me. I tell people I’m a freethinker who believes in peace, love and respect.


I also believe in the power of women to save the world…we can, we have, we will, and we will again…and again!

Thrilled to let you know that the Necessary Evil Triptych
has been juried into the 12th Annual May Show at Lakeland.
Organized each year by Gallery Director Extraordinaire, Mary Urbas,
this year it was Juried by Janet Bloch,
of the Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City, Indiana.

It's a fabulous show that you can definitely spend a
good couple hours walking through.
Generous gallery hours!
M-F 9:00 to 9:00 Saturday 9:00 to 5:00
Closed Sundays, Memorial Day, May 31 and July 4th

Open now, the show continues through July 15th at:

Lakeland Community College

7700 Clocktower Drive

Kirtland, Ohio

Sunday, February 20, 2022

The Goddess Project: Innocents…at Chagrin Arts…Opens Sunday March 6th

Persephone Kept, In the Winter
Judy Takács
oil on canvas

My first solo show in two years, opens at Chagrin Arts, Sunday March 6th with a reception from 2:00 to 4:00

More than four years in the making, The Goddess Project is my new series where I re-imagine characters and stories from the mythology of all the religions through a contemporary feminist lens. 

My solo show in the beautifully renovated Chagrin Arts gallery space right on Main Street in Chagrin Falls, is a collaboration with the Ohio Innocence Project which advocates for and fights to free those who have been wrongfully incarcerated. I will be showing a selection of paintings of Goddesses and women from mythology, who have been wrongfully accused, unfairly punished and held captive. Through my feminist lens, these heroines ultimately prevail. 

For years now, Chagrin Arts has allied itself with the Ohio Innocence Project, a legal team whose mission is to fight for and free those who have been wrongfully incarcerated, sometimes for decades. They also work to fix the legal systems that convict the innocent. On March 20th I will participate in a panel discussion with the Women of the Ohio Innocence Project…true Goddesses themselves.

The March 6th Opening Reception will also be the book launch for my Goddess Project Book, which tells the stories behind all the paintings in the Goddess Project.

72 pages, 55 full color images, $50. I’d love to sign one for you or a special Goddess you know.

Show continues through June 12th

The Goddess Project: Innocents

Opening Reception, Sunday, March 6th 2:00 to 4:00 

Chagrin Arts

88 North Main Street, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022

440 247 9700

RSVP requested here.



The Goddess Project: Innocents
A Panel Discussion with artist Judy Takács and Women of the Ohio Innocence Project

Sunday, March 20, 2:00-3:00, 

Chagrin Falls Town Hall, 83 North Main Street, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 

Gallery viewing right across the street at Chagrin Arts follows at 3:00 to 4:00

RSVP requested here.

Friday, July 2, 2021

The Goddess Sphynx

The Goddess Sphynx
oil on canvas

This painting is from my Goddess Project, where I re-imagine the familiar and iconic characters from the mythology and stories of all religions through a contemporary feminist lens.

In Ancient Egyptian Lore, the Sphynx was a male character; an honorable and wise guardian of the tombs, part lion, part man. The earliest and most iconic image is the Great Sphynx of Giza, guarding the pyramids, created around 2500 BC.  

Over the next thousand years, with conquests and cultural appropriation, the Greeks ended up with their own version of the Sphynx, an evil and tricky one with wings and a tail…who was also now a female character.

She was the one who asked the famous riddle you had to answer in order to pass into Thebes. What walks on four legs in the morning, 2 legs at noon and 3 legs at sundown?

If you didn’t guess the right answer, she would throw you off the cliffs to your death.

So, as a male icon, she was a good, wise and powerful guardian of the tombs, but as a female icon she became tricky and conniving…Got it!

This is the myth that I want to bust with The Goddess Sphynx from my Goddess Project.

My Sphynx is still a woman…a Goddess no less, but I wanted to return her goodness and her wisdom, and keep her powerful.

I chose the perfect model…Shannon, a woman who had posed for my Chicks with Balls project a number of years ago.

Shannon, who now proudly and happily lives her life as a woman, was born into the body of a man. It took almost 40 years of an incredibly difficult life journey for this to be corrected, and I write about her story in my Second Chicks with Balls book when she volunteered to pose for my Chicks with Balls project in 2014.

Shannon was indulgent and beautiful when she posed for me as the all-knowing, all wise, all powerful…now female…Goddess Sphynx.

The quill pen, an ancient book of the ages, and the iconic stone image of the Egyptian Sphynx guarding the pyramids at Giza all drive the point home that she is wise and good and she is a woman.

The Goddess Sphynx is showing for just one more week at the May Show at Lakeland College, only through July 9th. Be sure to stop by and see the fabulous company she keeps in this show, juried by Jae and Wadsworth Jarrell, founders of the AfriCOBRA art movement in the 1960s. 

Watch when I took Living Figuratively to the May Show at Lakeland…below.

One more thing…if you've been thinking about the riddle, here's the answer…its a baby who grows into an adult. Crawling on four legs in the morning, walking on two legs at noon and 3 legs, with a cane as the sun sets on their life! 









Saturday, January 2, 2021

Epiphanies…Eve and Pandora

Epiphany of Eve
Judy Takács

Eve was the first mortal woman created in the Judeo-Christian Religion.


Epiphany of Pandora
Judy Takács

Pandora was the first mortal woman created in Greek Mythology.

Both were curious and disobeyed divine orders by eating a forbidden apple or opening a forbidden box.

In both stories, the consequences of this first woman’s intellectual curiosity is the downfall of all of humankind.

These stories stand as a warning to all women to obey orders and squelch intellectual curiosity. The far-reaching fingers of this concept are laws that have kept women from education and control of their bodies, finances and property for millennia.

If you’re tired of reading already, you can watch my New Year’s Eve Epiphany episode of Living Figuratively where I introduce both these paintings…otherwise, keep reading! 

The Full Story

Delving deeper into these parallel stories was fascinating. 

According to the mythology, before Pandora was created, the mortal world of the Greeks was an all-male society where the guys were obedient to the Gods, enjoyed each other’s company and all was fine. 

But, then Prometheus, kind demi-god that he was, decided that these dudes might be chilly at night and should also be able to grill their food…so, he gave them the gift of fire, which, up until then was reserved for Gods only. Zeus became quite angry at this and had poor Prometheus strapped to a mountaintop to have his liver eaten by vultures each day, only to grow back each night and repeat the process the next day.

Not quite enough to satiate the God’s anger, Zues also wanted to punish the mortal men who were now enjoying fire.

So, Zeus created Pandora… the first mortal woman… as a disrupter to their blissful grilling and nightly campfires.

When she was created, Zeus gave her as a “gift” to, of all people, Prometheus’ brother. She was a gift who came bearing a gift… a fancy and jeweled box which she was forbidden to open. 

Pandora, because she was curious…intellectually curious…disobeyed and opened the box anyway.

Apparently opening the box unleashed all the evil into the world. The only thing left in the box was “hope.” 

Scholars are confused on this…does this mean we still have hope? Or that we have no hope because it was not released into the world?

Either way though, the disobedient curious woman messed everything up by seeking knowledge. Though, ironically, she did exactly what Zeus had her made to do…which was to mess things up on earth…but she doesn’t even get credit for carrying out the mission successfully.

Damned if you do…damned if you don’t.

Different woman, different details, but story was repeated in the Judeo-Christian bible, when God created the first mortal woman…Eve…as a wife to the hapless Adam.

In this story, God gave them lush gardens, good food, animals to lord over, and an order to have lots of sex and babies. (an order that gets dredged up as religious freedom whenever companies like Hobby Lobby don’t want to pay for health insurance plans that include birth control.)

There was just one condition. 

Do not eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. 

Adam was down with that… lush gardens, stay naked, have lots of sex, skip the apples, don’t ask questions…got it!

Eve, however, had higher aspirations and decides to try an apple from the Tree of Knowledge. 

She shares it with her husband…and, here again, all hell breaks loose! God banishes the couple and all of humanity from the Garden of Eden to suffer on earth forever after. 

I don’t buy this. Both are stories made up by men to control women.

Through a Feminist Lens

I have reimagined Pandora and Eve, and shown them being rewarded for seeking knowledge; delighted and intrigued by the knowledge they have discovered.

Pandora’s box is not a sacred and forbidden thing, but a box of books from Amazon!

Detail from Epiphany of Pandora

I’ve put some intentional symbolism into the books…

You’ll see Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, Dalma Takács’ book on the afterlife, The Condo, Joyce Carol Oates’, Because it’s Bitter and Because it’s my Heart, an ancient bible, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology and, because I had an epiphany during the painting process, the last book left in Pandora’s box is Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope.”

Detail from Epiphany of Eve

Eve has bitten from the apple…she has, in fact, enjoyed many apples.

The snake is a skinny harmless one and a bit-player in her quest for knowledge. I show her enjoying the books…ergo knowledge…that she has discovered. 

She is also not covering herself with ivy…because she has not discovered shame about her own body like the bible story says she did.

Many Epiphanies

Epiphanies abounded during the creation of these two paintings, but they all began with my beautiful model, whose name is actually Epiphany! Follow her on Instagram as epiphany.cp and on facebook as Epiphany Perkins.

She was wicked fun to paint, and I even did some smaller studies of her before I tackled the actual painting. Both are available at my online shop,

Her close cropped short natural hair was a dream. It was perfect to show the essence, the beginning, the first mortal woman created…in both these religions. She’s a beautiful model and a lovely person too. 

Here is a study I did to prepare for the Eve painting. She’s available, framed in silver and ready to ship from my online shop.

and below is a study I did to prepare for Epiphany of Pandora. Also, framed in silver and ready to ship…and also available at my online shop.

If you’re wondering why I chose a Black woman to portray the first mortal women created, I will ask you why wouldn’t the first woman created be black? Really why not? Neither the Judeo-Christian bible, nor Greek Mythology ever says that God…or Zeus…was white or created white people first. It was the western and Renaissance artists that interpreted biblical and mythological characters as European-looking white people so that’s how we’ve come to think of them. 

Artists have great power to implant images in our heads, so, for my paintings I show Eve and Pandora as the same beautiful black woman…because it’s the same story.

Also, think about great black women in history and today, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Kathrine Johnson, Shirley Chisholm, Kamala Harris. They were and are intellectually curious, and sometimes put into positions where they had to disobey the rules in order to do what is right and help generations to come.

The moral of MY story is that women should absolutely seek knowledge. Be curious, learn, investigate…the world won’t crumble, but we just might save it! 

And when I say, “women” rest assured, I mean men too, and all the genders. We should all seek knowledge.