Gerry Judahs Bengal : The Four Elements opened at Grizedale Forest Gallery
on 21st July. This solo exhibition marks a unique collaboration between Grizedale Forest and internationally acclaimed artist Gerry Judah, bringing together a striking body of work built over nearly a decade and originally commissioned by Arts Council England. Visually forceful and sensitively crafted, Gerry Judah's works poetically engage with prescient issues of climate change in India whilst also exploring the artists personal history. Drawing on essential natural elements in his exquisitely detailed sculptures, Judah constructs the intangible: clouds shift, waves splash and smoke rises. Works on display include drawings and sculptures dating from 2013- 2020.
Hazel Stone, Arts Development Manager for Forestry England at Grizedale Forest said: We are delighted to host this exhibition at Grizedale Forest bringing together this significant body of work which has been developed by Gerry Judah over a number of years since returning to India in 2013. Visitors to the gallery will gain insight into a sculptors process, from exploring ideas and forms through drawing, to the production of beautifully crafted sculptures. A common theme are the rickshaws from which each response to the individual elements flow as the artist brings together his childhood memories and thoughts on climate change into dynamic drawings and fascinating forms.
Examples of the Bengal series have recently been exhibited at the High Commission of India and Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Other major works by Gerry Judah are currently on permanent display at institutional venues ranging from the Imperial War Museum to St Paul's Cathedral, the House of Wisdom in Sharjah UAE and international sculpture parks such as Cass Sculpture Foundation, UK and Gibbs Farm Sculpture Park, New Zealand.
This exhibition also coincides with the publication of Bengal: The Four Elements which includes an insightful catalogue essay by Jay Merrick (former Architectural Critic of The Independent). The gallery space at Grizedale provides a perfect setting to view these thought provoking works. The exhibition is free and open from 11am until 3pm daily
Gerry Judahs maternal and paternal grandparents came from Baghdad to settle in the
already established Baghdadi Jewish community in India and Burma. His mother was
born in Calcutta and his father in Rangoon. Gerry Judah was born in 1951 in Calcutta
and grew up there before his family moved to London when he was ten years old. As
a boy, the dramatic landscapes of India and the ornate architecture of its temples,
mosques and synagogues with their theatrical rituals had a profound effect on Judahs
developing psyche. These theatrical elements were to resurface in his own later work.
The austerity of London, still in its post-war drab, was a shock to the young boy and
he chose to spend as much time as possible in his bedroom conjuring up with pencils
and paper, imaginary landscapes, architectural fantasies and futuristic cars, leading him
to want to become an artist. Judah obtained Double First-Class Honours degree in
Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London (19721975) and studying
sculpture as a postgraduate at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London
(19751977). He was taken with the public nature of this work and decided to find
settings for his own art in more public arenas than the rarefied spaces of conventional
galleries. He created settings for the BBC, British Museum, Museum of Mankind,
Natural History Museum, Imperial War Museum, Museum of Tolerance and musicians
including Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Robert Plant & Jimmy Page and The Who.
Amongst a number of public museums and institutions, Judah was commissioned by
the Imperial War Museum in London to create a large model of the selection ramp in
Auschwitz-Birkenau for the Holocaust Exhibition opened by Queen Elizabeth II. Judahs work has been exhibited by numerous important international institutions including
the Saatchi Gallery, Imperial War Museum, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Camden Arts
Centre, David Roberts Foundation, Royal Institute of British Architects, Cass
Sculpture Foundation, Museum of Old and New Art, High Commission of India, Gibbs
Farm Sculpture Park New Zealand, Louis Blouin Foundation and Wolverhampton Art
Gallery. In 2014 Judahs two monumental sculptures commemorating the First World
War were placed on display in St Pauls Cathedral, London.