Judith Gale is an internationally exhibited artist, widely known for her series entitled “Hidden Wonders.” In this body of work, she provides us with a unique way of viewing the complexities of the seashell to gain appreciation for its important role in marine life. As a concerned environmentalist, Judith serves as Vice President of the Molluscan Science Foundation, which is dedicated to the preservation of our marine environments. She studied Fine Art at the School of Visual Arts in New York, New York. She recently exhibited at the Museum of Estense Castle Ferrar in Italy and is in a show at The VETS Gallery in R.I. She found time in her busy schedule for this interview that sheds light on her creative passion and environmental concerns. ~ Renée Phillips
RP: Judith, what is the inspiration behind your new series of paintings “Hidden Wonders”?
JG: My amazement with the intricacies of the natural patterns found in the universe of shell life has been the source of inspiration for these paintings. Through the combination of naturalism and imagination, these works of art illuminate the subtle wonders of marine life.
RP: When viewing your paintings, we see seashells in an entirely new perspective. How do you describe your creative objectives and processes?
JG: I have transformed the natural beauty of the detailed surfaces of these dynamic products of organisms into high-energy abstract paintings. These works of art act as a magnifying lens, which enhance our ability to perceive the complexities of the seashell that we might typically overlook. The spirited colors and textures chosen, create explosive moments that illuminate the unique patterns into something quite phantasmagorical. Another playful facet about these paintings is that many glow in the dark to resemble their appearance in replicating the shimmering life beneath the waters.
RP: What is the meaning behind “Hidden Wonders”?
JG: These paintings serve to highlight environmental concerns. These hidden sources of wonder — sea shells — are gradually disappearing. With the devastation of coral reefs worldwide, mankind is losing some of our most precious spectacles. I strive to encourage people to move beyond their own perspective to see the glories of the universe of molluscan life and to work to keep our marine ecosystem from further decline. These statements apply to many other aspects of our eco-world or overall planetary environment as well.
RP: As Vice President of the Molluscan Science Foundation, Inc. can you explain its mission?
JG: The Foundation’s goals are to advance the study, preservation, scientific, and medical application of mollusks. It also provides an educational opportunity for discussion and direct observation in the field of malacology. We do research with the Smithsonian to test shells for possible innovations addressing either medical or environmental concerns.
RP: What are some of your responsibilities and activities as Vice President?
JG: My main responsibilities involve the educational and artistic sector. I do a lot of photography work, develop educational materials including lesson plans for children concerning marine life, and spread the awareness of the potential demise of coral reefs. We distribute free materials to public schools to aid teachers and to encourage incorporating this subject matter in their curriculum. These materials include a poster, flashcards, and real seashells developed for an interactive hands-on program for middle school children. This gives the children the opportunity for direct observation, handling, and furthering their knowledge about the marine environment and its preservation.
RP: That’s so important! What other activities are you involved in to raise awareness about environmental concerns?
JG: I am a member of For Mother Nature, formothernature.com, a resource for those who are searching for nature-loving artists. Participating artists support their favorite environmental nonprofits with pledges. I’m also a member of WEAD, Women Eco Artists Dialogue, weadartists.org. As a female artist committed to the preservation of coral reefs and the entire global environment, WEAD provides an interrelated platform for my work, mission and involvement. I also served as the photographer for the book: “The Most Beautiful Shell: Spondylus Americanus”. (Available on amazon.com.)
RP: Judith, where have you been exhibiting your art recently and what upcoming shows do you have scheduled?
JG: I recently had a solo show at J2X Abstract Painting Gallery in Babylon, New York, and I exhibited in a group show “Little Treasures” at the Museum of Estense Castle Ferrara, at Galleria de’ Marchi, in Bologna, Italy. I’ll also be exhibiting in the The VETS Gallery with the Art League of Rhode Island, through March 3, 2018.
RP: Finally, what are your goals for the future?
JG: To exhibit my work in environmentally focused venues. To continue to raise awareness about preservation and conservation efforts for our planet through my artwork at special exhibitions that focus on these important issues. I also plan to continue exploring patterns and experimenting with materials to create new works in order to expand the “Hidden Wonders” concepts.