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.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Lauralee, Balls of Silver, Nerves of Steel

Lauralee, Balls of Sliver, Nerves of Steel
Judy Takács
I'm writing from the safety of my home and studio, during this Corona Spring where so many are on the front lines making sure we have food, medical supplies, healthcare, transportation, all the things that make our world livable. A heartfelt thank you goes out to all of you.
Just over a month ago, it was all celebration and girls weekend fun, with the opening of my Chicks with Balls show at the Zanesville Museum of Art.
Now, because of corona, and Ohio's "stay at home" order (that's Midwest for "lockdown") the museum is closed, and my paintings are in suspended animation; can't pick them up, can't see them.
Last fall, however, was when Lauralee contacted me about posing for Chicks with Balls, little did I know how inspiring her story of tragedy and recovery was, and how much more poignant it would be in the months to come.
When she posed, her story was still mostly private…an incredibly difficult one to tell…even hearing it gives me heart palpitations. Because of this, I held off on writing the blog about Lauralee, Balls of Silver, Nerves of Steel.
But, just this morning, Lauralee made the incredibly difficult and courageous move to come forward with the telling of her story. I respect and admire her immensely for this.
To me, the takeaway is that humans can go through the most horrible times imaginable, keep moving towards the light and come out of it…often with more wisdom, empathy and a sense of connectedness to the world than ever before.
Her story points to a message that the world needs to hear. And no one says it better than Lauralee herself.
Lauralee writes,
“I have been reluctant to share my story until this year, the 25th anniversary of the life trauma that qualified me to be one of Judy Takács' Chicks With Balls. Some of you know some of my story. Some who sat with us in the hospital day after day know it really, really well. Some of you will be learning it for the first time.

With Corona Virus suppressing all of us, it seemed no longer so necessary to hold our story so privately, as it is a story of survival and loss.
At 9:30PM on August 19, 1994 as we were returning from vacation at my parents' and Epcott in Florida we were hit head-on by an epileptic having a seizure behind the wheel of his car just north of Marietta, Ohio on I77. He and my husband died instantly and my three children and I were critically injured. Life flights eventually ensued for my older two that same night. My youngest and I spent five days in a Marietta hospital before it became obvious, I too, needed a life flight to University Hospital, Cleveland. Intensive care was home for over a week and my 14 year old daughter was on life support initially. Eventually my older two were transferred to Metro Hospital closed head trauma unit and that began a year's worth of cognitive, physical and occupational therapies for them. My youngest, 11, was furthest from impact and released from hospital first with no home to go to. A classmate's family took him in. Three of us spent a full year in physical therapy. My oldest spent 6 months in a body cast and should be a paraplegic, but isn't (miracle). My daughter survived massive injuries with no surgery because she was too fragile for surgery (miracle). Eventually I was diagnosed with PTSD, go figure. I'd fought unconsciousness to keep my daughter trying to breathe with the firm knowledge I was the only surviving parent in that van.
It took years of therapy and hard work to piece myself and children back together and we are always a work in progress with so, so many success stories we could tell. We can all prove what it means to be a good human specimen and humane so do it!
I think our nation and the world has this kind of fight ahead of us but I am convinced we can get it done. So in the spirit of the survivor's journey hang on, hold tight, laugh and cry and keep going.”

Yes, Lauralee definitely has nerves of steel.

The Balls of Silver she is holding are her own creation. She is a metal work and jewelry artist and sculpture and she is holding a beautiful sculptural work she has forged from Silver…Balls of Silver.

2022 Addendum: Thrilled to announce that Lauralee, Balls of Silver, Nerves of Steel was accepted to the Portrait Society of America International Exhibition as part of the Select Fifty category. This is the best my work has ever done in this prestigious exhibition that I have been entering since 2010, so, needless to say…yet again…that I am thrilled!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Maria, Incognito In Kimono

Counting down like crazy for the upcoming Chicks with Balls show at the Zanesville Museum of Art, (It opens in 8 days!) but I would be remiss if I didn’t give you at least a little teaser of one of my most recent and most favorite portraits from the collection that is included in the show!

Maria, Incognito In Kimono…a detail
Judy Takács

Opening Reception:
Chicks with Balls:
Judy Takács paints unsung female heroes
Thursday, February 13, 2020
5:00 to 7:00
The long-awaited SECOND Chicks with Balls
launches at the Opening Reception.

Gallery Talk at the Zanesville Museum of Art:
Chicks with Balls: You, me, and every woman we know
Saturday, February 15th, 2020

Satellite Exhibition at The Art Loft Zanesville:
My Epic Triptych, Love, Athena will debut at their First Friday Artwalk
Friday, March 6th, 2020
5:00 to 9:00

Guest Lecture at The Art Loft Zanesville:
Beyond Chicks with Balls: The Goddess Project
Thursday, March 19, 2020
6:00 to 7:00

Both first and second Chicks books will be for sale at the Opening Reception and at the ZMA Gift shop for $50 each, during the run of the show. I’ll be available all the events to personally sign books!

ZMA Museum Hours:
Wednesday thru Saturday: 10:00 to 5:00

Thursdays: 10:00 to 7:30

The Art Loft Hours:
These are working art studios with a beautiful gallery common space, open for the First Friday Artwalk (March 6) by appointment and by chance.
Call first: 740.704.2118

Friday, January 17, 2020

Mary, as Luna, Goddess of the Dung Beetle Ball

Mary, as Luna, Goddess of the Dung Beetle Ball
Judy Takács

The story behind this painting begins in the middle of the most harrowing time in Mary’s life. 

It was a time whose concerns did not include breast cancer…until they did.

Its never a good time for a breast cancer diagnosis, but because she put her family’s concerns ahead of her own, she ignored symptoms that otherwise would have been dramatic and alarming.

After a slow and tumultuous several years battling the cancer, Mary was left happily in remission with a double mastectomy. 

Not wanting to endure continued surgeries, recoveries, complications and also needing to get back to the easel (she’s a phenomenal artist, and founder and director of Hull Art Academy of Art in Dallas, Texas)…Mary made a sensible and measured decision to forgo reconstructive breast surgery.

This simple and logical, personal, cosmetic decision was met with extensive pushback from armchair psychologists and nosy acquaintances.

Some folks actually asked her if she was trying to become a man. 

There were women who inexplicably said they’d be concerned if their husband still found them to be sexy with no breasts. 

Even doctors put intense pressure on her to reconsider, using sexist generalizations about how a woman’s self-esteem is related to her breast size. 

She was also strongly advised to clear it with her husband and consider his feelings on the matter. He was all but asked to sign a consent form agreeing to keep a wife without breasts. 

Because her husband is a loving and supportive best friend, his response was, “Unless you’re filling them with beer, I don’t know why my opinion matters.”

One of the unexpected issues with choosing to remain breast-less is that no plastic surgeon will tidy up the extra skin so your body will look smooth and intentionally breast-less.  Mary was told by a plastic surgeon that they only do surgery if you’re changing the size or shape because you’re not happy with what you have…not if you’re removing them.

Before disrobing for the posing session, Mary braced me with dire warnings of what I was about to see. In Mary’s eyes, she saw sagging skin with puckers, dimpling and scarring. I geared up to not display shock, or even wince…never having seen a double mastectomy in person. 

Her warnings were, in my eyes, very much unfounded, and her breastless-ness seemed very natural and quite lovely…exotic, other-worldy even. 

Thus came the inspiration to interpret her as a mythological character. 

I cast Mary as the Roman Goddess Luna; embodiment of the moon, driving her horses and chariot across the night sky. 

Mary’s Luna, however, is driving Dung Beetle Balls across earthly terrain.

Why Dung Beetle Balls?

Mary beautifully navigates her sometimes tumultuous life and identifies with the humble dung beetle, who literally takes the shit of other animals and rolls it into positive action. 

Dung beetleballs are created by dungbeetles to attract mates, store food, and safely house and feed baby beetle larva. Their production is a methodical process where the beetles roll the dung of other animals in a single direction away from their original source, using the heavens as their guide; sun by day, moon by night. After the dung ball has finished its job helping beetles pro-create and survive, it returns to the earth to fertilize new plant growth that will feed other animals whose dung will continue the cycle. 

Mary’s shit…hand-typewritten words from naysayers and doctors about her cancer and decisions …is rolled into her giant dung beetle ball as she marches forward in life, rolling it into positive action.

And Why Mythological Characters?

As I march forward in my art life painting people…especially women of strength and courage, I am shifting focus from my Chicks with Balls series to other forms of inspiration and imagery. 

I, like countless artists and authors before me, have found a very deep well of stories, themes and fantastical details in mythology. And by mythology, I mean the tales, legends and beliefs from all the religions; Pagan, Ancient Greek, Jewish, Islamic, Christian, Hindu…wherever there are colorful characters with stories to tell. These fictions have inspired art, literature, fairy tales and belief systems for eons. Their lessons and warnings reflect the prejudices, ignorances and injustices of the time they were written, and have endured because of timeless characters to become deeply rooted in our contemporary subconscious…for better and for worse.

I’m excited to explore these concepts and re-examine classic mythological characters and tell their stories through a contemporary lens. I dispel stereotypes with the #Me(dusa)too diptych, and put non-traditional bodies into action via my Venus interpretations and the Winged Victory triptych.

Mary as Luna bridges the gap between my Chicks with Balls series and my Goddess series, so she holds a very special place.

Because Mary’s portrait is part of the Chicks with Balls series too, it was shown at the Zanesville Museum of Art as part of my first ever, solo museum show!

And now, she's traveling again…

Showing now through December 11, 2022 as part of the
13th Annual Figurative Drawing and Painting Competition
Susquehanna University
Selinsgrove, PA