Biographical Narrative for Judith Mullen
Growing up in the Midwest I had the great fortune to spend part of the year in an urban area and the remainder of my time on a farm in northern Wisconsin. I found the juxtapositions of these two landscapes fascinating not to discount the firm boundaries each held close in an effort to keep the other at bay. The visual markers, changes in scenery and the subtle awareness of times’ tempo shifting as I traversed between the city neighborhood to the expanse of the farmhouse, continues to be a focal point of my studio practice.
Over the past several years I have married early childhood memories to present day concerns exploring the idea of “shelter”. Investigating various types of shelter both man made and those found in the natural world, I have begun to explore how the idea of transitions, the interweaving of the past and the present, is facilitated with supporting shelters or containers. In 2007 I was the recipient of the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship which allowed me to spend two weeks at Grott de Niaux in France studying the ancient cave paintings. Here, the shelter acted as canvas, conveying the subtleties of the landscape in which no horizon line existed; humans and nature were in sync.
I’m not suggesting that we return to primitive modes of living and working, however, it is an important historical link in our humanity and there appears to be a movement back to a merging contemporary culture with the natural world. My work endeavors to explore and document how this may be occurring both as an individual and as a community.