Hot Summer , 2021, mixed media, 19” x 40” x 9.5”
“I cherish the process of finding and sorting objects. I used to haunt flea markets for the items that I get energy from. Now, I create my own objects. With this explosion of color and images, I mark the bliss of revisiting my youth.”
- Judy Onofrio, 2021
In Judy Onofrio’s newest body of work, Bliss, she creates a world of joyous color and abundance. Known for her generosity, Onofrio’s home and studio had always been the meeting place for everyone involved in the arts in Minnesota. This past year all that changed when the pandemic caused family and friends to isolate. Always optimistic, Onofrio not only coped but thrived, overcoming physical limitations, to create in her studio a world of visual joy and sustenance.
The opportunity of solitude allowed Onofrio the time to reflect on her life and revisit the gardens and beaches of childhood memory. Building on decades of expertise with material and form, Onofrio, carved wood, made molds, cast and painted forms creating tableaus of natures’ abundance of the land and sea. The joy of Onofrio’s childhood delight was reimagined in the form of giant pears and seductive peaches that share the stage with arabesques of wood and bone and evoke a fantastical garden or lively ocean. Lush, abundant layers of glazed color saturate and slide over Onofrio’s forms to create a dazzling three-dimensional painting. Judy Onofrio’s Bliss offers nourishment for the visually malnourished and the works’ maximalism invites the viewer to a partake of a visual feast.
In 2020, Judy Onofrio was awarded The Lifetime Achievement Award by the Women’s Caucus for Art. In the state of Minnesota, where Onofrio has worked tirelessly for artistic excellence, she received The McKnight Foundation Distinguished Minnesota Artist Award in recognition of her ongoing contribution as an artist and educator. She is also the recipient of the Rochester Art Center Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2018 A.P. Anderson Award and the Minnesota Crafts Council Lifetime Achievement Award. Grants and fellowships include, Minnesota State Arts Board, Arts Midwest/NEC, the Bush Foundation and the McKnight Foundation.
Her work is found in national and international collections including: The National Gallery of Art, Victoria, Australia; Arabia Museum Helsinki, Finland; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Renwick Gallery, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; The Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY; The Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Frederick R. Weisman Museum, Minneapolis, MN and over 40 other museum and public collections.