Judy Onofrio has always been in love with the stuff of the world. In the first three decades of her sixty-year career, she worked with clay, then built, painted, and often set on fire enormous sculptural constructions. For the past twenty years, she has told optimistic stories about strong women, lush gardens, and circus through her elaborately embellished figurative sculptures.
In 2008, when Onofrio was confronted by a serious illness, everything changed and she turned to her studio practice to process her experience of mortality, renewal, and healing. The resulting series mirrored Onofrio’s own journey through illness to renewed health. Always a master of material, Onofrio began to integrate animal bones subtly and organically into her repertoire of sculpted, embellished, and painted forms. Eventually the forms were made entirely of bone and were white.
In 2020, another monumental change took place as a pandemic swept across the world. Always an optimist, Judy Onofrio looked inward. She made a conscious decision to embrace joy. Imagery sprang from memories of a childhood on the beach and in the garden. Onofrio sculpted flowers and fruit, birds, and fish, transformed bone to botany and began to paint in luscious, ripe full color. It’s as if the Garden of Eden is in bloom again.
Judy Onofrio has exhibited extensively nationally & internationally. Her work is in numerous private and public collections including National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Frederick R. Weisman Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN; The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN; North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, ND; Laumeier Sculpture Park and Museum, St. Louis, MO; McKnight Foundation, Minneapolis, MN; The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO; Hallmark, Kansas City, MO; Arabia Museum, Helsinki, Finland; Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York, NY; Decorative Arts Museum, Little Rock, AK; Greenville County Museum, Greenville, NC; Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts, Montreal, Canada; Museum of Contemporary Art, Voor Hedendaagsa Kunst Het Kruithuis, Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands; and others.