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About the Photographer
American, b. 1944, New York, NY
Judy Coleman's expressionistic photographs depict female nudes surrounded by abstract fields of texture and distortion, which she creates by altering the surface of her prints. Coleman begins, in each instance, by taking a 4x5 inch black and white Polaroid photograph in her studio. She models for the photographs herself, determining poses intuitively and spontaneously as a means to convey internalized emotions. Coleman dramatizes the psychological dimension further by distorting the surface of the small Polaroid print. Varying her technique, she etches into it with a needle, paints on it with minute brushstrokes, or adds solid material such as wax, grains of sand, or glass shards, building up layers of texture in the new composition that flatten the sense of space. These alterations make it appear as if the nude figure was embedded or submerged in a mysterious yet physical realm, which takes on the appearance of ice or stone. To create the final image, Coleman rephotographs the altered print with an 8x10 inch view camera and makes an enlargement.
For the Portfolio of 6 Photographs (1988-89) Coleman created images that explore our emotional responses as they occur in liminal states, like dreaming or the moment of awakening. As quoted in her 1989 monograph, she remarks, "I am curious about that time of the day when we leave the dream state and the dawning of reality sets in—when all those considerations of the unfolding day's events come flooding into our minds while we're still trying to disentangle ourselves from our dreams."
Coleman received a BA from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (1966) and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles (1983).