As I walked through the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock viewing the show “Come One Come All” by Judy Onofrio, it was one of those times when I thought, “Oh, I wish I had done that!” and then, “but I can’t because she did it so well.”
This is the kind of art I really enjoy, stunning from a distance and rich with details up close. Here’s some more examples of her work and a short bio. Judyland — a kind of outsider art that’s been cleaned up for galleries and museums.
The wall pieces average about four feet tall, and the sculptures over twelve feet high. My favorite was a fantastic gypsy in a fortune-telling booth complete with a nickel-slot machine apparatus. How does she get the big ones to stand up? I wondered with all their intricate doo-dads hanging out all over, and Russ with his usual sculptor matter-of-factness said “Rebar. That’s how I’d do it.”
Interesting side effect of the art interacting with the art deco white vaulted ceilings of the AAC — Dots of light bounced from the mosaic surfaces of Onofrio’s sculpture up to the ceiling, accentuating the beautiful architecture of the museum. One sculpture even had a small revolving mirrored ball that created a spinning disco-ball-effect, but more like walking into a fantastic jewelry box. Only thing missing was little tinkly music.
Onofrio uses found objects, but unlike a lot of assemblage art that seems kind of muddy, she maintains a clarity of color and form that makes her work vivid and energetic.
The director of the AAC museum school said that Onofrio has rooms filled with objects from tag sales and flea markets, but he added that she probably depleted her stock-piles for this exhibition. He said after she taught her workshop, she got up early the next day and hit all the flea markets around Little Rock. Knowing what just I spent to ship fabric home, I’d hate to see her shipping bill!