Jude Ryan Reiling came to clay through study of drawing, painting and photography. An artist who is not afraid to explore new directions, her current work is a series of sculptural sketches of robed figures, often holding birds and vessels. Over the years, Jude has produced notable series in functional carved porcelain and wood-fired vessels decorated in Japanese graphics. She explains, “Although working in such diverse ways may be unusual, it is part of my commitment to following a creative muse without severely editing the direction.”
Jude’s sculptures are textured with rolled and carved patterns that stem from the artist’s love of graphic design. She employs a variety of clay bodies, firings and finishes in this work. Although they are related and present beautifully in groups, each one-of-a-kind figure has a personality of its own – a cocked head, hands folded, a bird perched on the shoulder. Jude strives to have each evoke “an internal world of human emotion: wonder and hope, the solitary and the sad.”
“I am interested in exploring the brink where my own emotion meets matter and is communicated,” she states. “I like the fact that the figures have a universal, mythic quality. Most seem feminine although that is not always important to me. To create the sculptures I think of rituals, experiences and emotions that are both personal and universal. I express them using concrete symbols and precise gestural form.”
In 2008 and 2009, Jude, a Minneapolitan who maintains a studio in Hudson, WI, created figures in collaboration with floral artist Sue Bagge for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ annual Art in Bloom event.