(l) “Playa: Impossible Sky” (2017), 36″ x 34″; $4800 (r) “Many Before me Been Called by the Sea (2015), 16″ x 10”; $1200
Judy Ann Ness’s Statement
Playa: Impossible Sky: An artist’s residency at Playa Summer Lake in the desert landscape of Eastern Oregon introduced me to the striking character of the surrounding hills rimming what used to be an ancient inland sea. The illusive waterbed of a shallow alkali lake was revealed until summer heat cracked it dry and even the sky was exposed. The stark landscape was and is a vessel for the power of nature. I tried to explore the element of the heat, the cold, the coming and going of the wind, and the silent history of the place.
Many Before Me Been Called By The Sea:
The sea is the mother and boats are cradles,
Not knowing where it is or how to get there
yearning to return home I have forgotten the way.
Drawn to the water, some sail away in wooden boats,
waiting at the shore are the others.
From the time I took a shot of the harbor at the 1994 Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, about 10 years past before I was technically capable to weave the complex shapes.
Chimera: The feather was found tucked in the pages of a book at a guesthouse in Bhuj, Gujurat, India. A 2016 trip to India shook me up and I had a hard time making sense of it. “Chimera” allowed me to explore the feelings and thoughts of this life-changing experience. The three layers are: 1) a shadow self – India made it clear that death shadows every day; 2) a material body where the beauty and sacredness of life makes the struggle meaningful; 3) the ethereal spirit – the exaltation of a higher level and the knowing there is more, always.
Judy Ann Ness’s Biography
Iowa State University was my alma mater from 1970-1974. They were more than fair with me, but I let myself down with a mediocre effort and regretted the lost opportunity. It’s not often one gets a do-over and I felt the University of Oregon graduate school in Fine Arts/Fibers was my chance for redemption. The Fine Arts Department let me teach weaving for three years during graduate school, offering a wonderful experience and the financial support to make school possible. The Costa Mesa Dendel Group’s scholarship for handweavers administered by the HGA sent me to study jacquard weaving at Foundation Lizio in Florence, Italy in 1998 in the company of 5 other UO weavers and our beloved teacher, Barbara Setsu Pickett.
Light, color and content are my main interests. I have special love for Norwegian textiles and Diné (Navajo) weaving. The Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum has supported contemporary and traditional weavers interested in Norwegian textiles with a yearly international exhibit where I’ve participated showing pieces in the krokbragd-tapestry fusion technique that developed from studies at the UO. Sarah Natani, traditional weaver of The Diné (Navajo) inspired an awareness of the spirituality intrinsic in Diné tapestry that has continued to underly my work. After 25 years, I’m still weaving the same thing – the content focusing on a conceptual exploration of the nature of non-duality. Tapestry can be a slow process. Fortunately, it allows an idea build and change to follow deeper questioning. It arrives in its own time.