Artists Statement: Earth Bound
During the past
three years, I have used my studio practice to process my experience of
mortality, renewal and healing. An earlier series of figurative work,
Stories of Reclining Women, mirrored my journey to regain my health
and was the bridge to my current work in this exhibition. I continue to
move beyond a specific narrative and reach toward a universal experience
of beauty that speaks of the transitory nature of life.
My current works are largely abstracted assemblages that combine a
variety of found animal bones. While I initially included decorative
architectural elements and hand-carved fruit, I gradually have
eliminated everything but bones. Working with animal bones makes me
increasingly aware of their organic beauty and the life they once
In this work, fertility and eroticism live side by side with
mortality and fragility. It is my hope that this work will evoke the
memory of the Garden of Eden and the ongoing cycle of ever-changing
life. For me, this work is about my healing process and the celebration
of being fully alive.
26 February 2012
Judy Onofrio: Earth Bound
By Sherry Leedy
Judy Onofrio has always been in love with the stuff of the world. In
the first three decades of her fifty-year career, she worked with clay,
then built, painted, and often set on fire enormous sculptural
constructions. For the past twenty years, she has told optimistic
stories about strong women, lush gardens, and circus through her
elaborately embellished figurative sculptures.
In 2008, when Onofrio was confronted by a serious illness, everything
changed and she turned to her studio practice to process her experience
of mortality, renewal and healing. The resulting series mirrored
Onofrio’s own journey through illness to renewed health.
Always a master of material, Onofrio began to subtly and organically
integrate animal bones into her repertoire of sculpted, embellished and
Then Onofrio took a leap of faith. The female figure, star of her
work for decades, vanished. Sleek, vibrant color mutated into shades of
slippery, creamy ivory, and bones became the material of choice.
Onofrio’s increasing awareness of the physical and spiritual energy of
life lived, held in the bones left behind in the earth, had a profound
influence on her understanding of healing and enlightment.
In the series, Earth Bound, Judy Onofrio shows us a
heartbreakingly beautiful, poignant and lush, delicate and seductive
nature morte throbbing with life. Judy Onofrio’s baroque sculptures
pulse with life and confirm that every death is essentially only a
passage to a new beginning. Of this work, Judy Onofrio says, “To me,
they feel like prayers.”