Judy Ledgerwood has painted a sixty-eight foot long by thirteen foot high painting spanning the length of an L-shaped wall in the lobby of a corporate office building in Midtown Manhattan.
A geometric floral pattern painted in silver stretches over grounds of fluorescent orange, red and pink. The piece was painted directly on the wall in tempera paint, on site by the artist assisted by her son, in December 2016.
For this temporary installation Ledgerwood has fused elements of abstract painting and the decorative arts in wonderful ways: the repeated pattern and the gently curved drape of the top and bottom edges reference ornamental wallpaper and hanging tapestries, yet the artist’s hand and process is clearly present in the random brush marks and dripped fringe of paint along the bottom edge. Employees in the building encounter the painting as they pass through a security turnstile and walk along a corridor. The painting transitions from pink to orange to red as they approach the elevators. Ledgerwood states “I thought of the color progression moving from cool to hot in relation to entering and leaving work”. The painting’s luminous palette of fluorescent colors and metallic silver infuses the lobby with a warm glow, creates an optical experience for the viewer and provides a vibrant counterpoint to the formality of the building’s architecture.
The artist’s new piece in New York expands upon ideas of an earlier installation she created for the Graham Foundation in Chicago. In 2014 Manneken Press published Ledgerwood’s “Chromatic Patterns After The Graham Foundation”, a suite of lithograph/relief prints inspired by that piece and which serves as a permanent evocation of the ephemeral installation. The prints also relate in interesting ways to the New York installation. Susan Tallman’s thoughtful review of these prints published in Art In Print can be read here.