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Arty Fact

nsandstrom's picture

Contributor

Judith Scott has historically been categorized as an “Outsider Artist.”

But in recent years Scott’s place in the art world has shifted as she gains recognition from the elite "insiders." As to the inside of her sculptures, oftentimes (as is the case with this one) no one knows what is inside. Well, that’s actually not *quite* true - a few of Judith’s artworks have been X-rayed to try to figure out what is underneath their mummy-like wrappings. This one, however, is not such an object.

Scott has often been compared to a spider: wrapping up objects into lumpy sculptures, as though swaddling the inner thing, or setting it aside for a snack. While that creepy-crawly quality doesn’t hold true across the board, in this case it does seem to stick (hehe). This is an unusually monochromatic work by the artist. For the most part, Scott experimented with lots of colors and textures, playing with layers and offsetting tones against each other. The white material used here more closely resembles an arachnid creation. 

On a more sinister level, some think of Scott’s wrapped works as referring to her institutionalized childhood. Born with Down syndrome, and becoming deaf at a young age, Scott spent more than 3 decades apart from her family, before her twin sister, Joyce, removed her from her confines. This particular object seems to speak directly to that. It was made less than 10 years after Scott’s departure, and the off-white color feels very sanitary and hospital-like. That said, as Scott did not speak, we are left with no guidelines from the artist herself on how to interpret the work.

Without the artist’s guidance, I like to think of this sculpture as a kind of egg, containing a mystical creature waiting to burst forth and bring as much joy into the world as Judith did.

 

Sources

Sources

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  10. “Judith Scott.” Fraenkel Gallery, accessed 28 October 2019, from https://fraenkelgallery.com/artists/judith-scott
  11. Marchini, Gloria. “Judith Scott.” outsiderartnow.com, 4 May 2014, accessed 28 October 2019, from https://www.outsiderartnow.com/judith-scott/
  12. Meier, Allison. “Finding a Voice in Fiber, Judith Scott Was an Artist, Not an Outsider.” Hyperallergic, 8 January 2015, accessed 28 October 2019, from https://hyperallergic.com/173531/finding-a-voice-in-fiber-judith-scott-w...
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  14. “Untitled - Judith Scott.” Brooklyn Museum, accessed October 28, 2019, from https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/214260.