Judy Riola

Region: South

 My recent body of work attempts to answer a question I’ve been asking myself for a long time: How specific a story do I want to tell?

I’ve begun to feel an impulse toward the narrative, and my mixed-media pieces have facilitated that impulse. By using pieces of drawn and painted paper or Yupo, I can introduce an unexpected element to the painting. This forces me to take a direction I wouldn’t have taken, to respond to that often jarring presence. I build layers by alternating gouache, pencil, markers, paper, and Yupo, over and over, until a clearer story emerges. Ambiguity remains important to me. I want to suggest a reading, but I also insist the viewer be invited to provide their own. This narrative is inevitably concerned with environmental threats, particularly to the oceans. Often my imagery conjures imaginary escape routes or solutions born of desperation. The cartoonish shapes and bright colors are a form of whistling in the dark, a way of warding off a deep pessimism about our earth’s fate.