Back in the beginning of this epic Chicks with Balls project, when I was concepting my first self-portrait entitled Judy has no balls, I described all my fears and paranoias for you…artistic and otherwise.
|Judy has no balls
by Judy Takács
I had always planned a second self-portrait as a resolution, showing how, through this painting project I had developed courage and had figuratively “grown a pair”.
This second self-portrait was not meant as a perverse statement of courage enough to show a breast…that said, the painting did desperately need a breast.
|Detail from, Judy finally grew a pair
by Judy Takács
Truly it is only our Puritanical-based American culture that is so titillated and obsessed with this provocative biological food delivery system. Topless grandmothers all over the world sit with inattentive sons-in-law and rowdy grandchildren on crowded international beaches and no one seems to notice, yet, Americans find ways to become offended by the innocent female nipple.
So, I had some societal baggage to contend with.
Now, those that knew me between the years of 1995 and 2001 have seen me breastfeed countless times…I was never shy about that, but somehow the permanence of paint, and the hooplah of an art show gave me pause, but I forged ahead.
During the nipple painting process I enlisted a few mantras to keep me from chickening out; it’s just a pile of paint, if I didn’t add the alizarin crimson and cerulean blue right here, it wouldn’t be a nipple anymore. I also invoked, as kindred spirits, everyone in Hollywood and art who has bared it; Kate Winslet, Julianne Moore, Sharon Stone, Sigourney Weaver, Charlize Theron, and artists Jenny Saville, Alice Neel, Artemisia Gentileschi, Georgia O’Keefe, Frida Kahlo…proud to put my name on that elite list.
Ostensibly, the balls I have grown are artistic ones, and can be summed up with this statement:
The painting gets what the painting wants.
By this, I mean that the painting is more important than the model’s vanity, the artist’s ego or her modesty about society’s expectations. It needs to stand alone and work as a beautifully composed, profoundly painted, intimately personal vision that knocks down the viewer and then lifts her up.
Falling short of that however, the painting needs to be the best I can do with the talent I have at the time I do it. And the painting demanded a nipple; damnit it wanted two…there’s a reflection in the gazing ball.
|Detail of my studio reflected in the gazing ball from Judy finally grew a pair
by Judy Takács
Also reflected in the ball is my beloved studio, embraced in a cave of my flesh. And, because so many of the women that posed for Chicks chose jewelry for its symbolism, I did so as well. My various pendants are gifts my boys have chosen or made for me over the years. And of course, I wear my 3 golden rings (engagement, wedding and 20th anniversary) to symbolize my ridiculously supportive husband who had no idea what he was getting himself into when he married me 22 years ago.
|Detail of my necklace assortment from Judy finally grew a pair
by Judy Takács
So then, you may ask, where is said nipple?
Well, it’s in the Chicks book, which is available on blurb.com.
And it hung for a month at BAYarts last summer for the Chicks show debut.
But if you missed that, you can see it now through September 12th at the Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio as part of the “Nude” show. Being part of this show is BIG for me. I’ve been a long admirer of the Manifest Gallery and its whole Ohio-proud vibe, as well as their support of some of the best artists who paint representational figurative works today.
I’ve been sending to their calls for entry for years, been accepted to one of their International Painting Annuals and also gotten some of the most nicely worded rejection letters I’ve ever seen…they are a class act.
But, this is the first time I’ve been accepted to one of their exhibitions, and I’m excited to make the drive to Cincinnati to check out the whole show!
Friday Night, August 15th from 6:00 to 9:00
During the Walk on Woodburn ArtWalk…which I can’t wait to explore!
2727 Woodburn Ave.
If you’re down in Southern Ohio, I’d love nothing more than to see you at the Opening Reception of “Nude”…and, since you made the drive, you’ll get to see some more of me too!