J U D Y    O N O F R I O
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 supported.

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.

Judy Onofrio
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 painted forms.

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.”