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Davis, California

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Local artist to display her visions of “heaven on earth” at Davis Cemetery

This month, the Davis Cemetery will host an art show inside its office. Itself a work of art with its manicured green lawns, decorative tombstones and grass labyrinths, the cemetery’s show is titled “Layers of images, color and texture.”

The show will feature the artwork of Judith Monroe and will take place the entire month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. A meet-and-greet with the artist will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on June 13.

”’Layers of images, color and texture’ not only pleases the senses of the viewers, but inspires the feelings of spirituality and emotion with Judith Monroe’s work,” said Keri Pinkstaff, public relations representative for the Davis Cemetery. “By creating in several stages, she takes photographs of beautiful landscapes and colors them with a multitude of materials; sometimes colored pencils, acrylics or watercolors. The results are not only awe-inspiring, but always a pleasure to admire.”

Born and raised in Northern California, Monroe started off as a journalism major at CSU Sacramento but soon became captivated by photography. She proceeded to take every photography class offered at the school. While she loved taking pictures of all the places she ventured to, Monroe sought a medium that could encapsulate the myriad colors and feelings that film and photographic papers were not able to capture. By exploring through her own independent studies, Monroe found that hand coloring could help to record these feelings more accurately.

She experimented with art over the years that she and her husband traveled the world for her husband’s army career, and finally settled back down in Northern California to raise two toddlers and return to photography as a working artist. Having had her work on display at Tree Davis, the Blue Wing Gallery in Woodland and the Kennedy Art Center among others, Monroe now uses multiple media to get her personal vision across to viewers. She currently helps teach art education programs at local schools, museums and other organizations.

“My artwork is my invitation to viewers to join me on my adventures,” Monroe said. “Layers of images, color and texture invite closer inspection and reward with story and meaning. The adventure of wandering the landscape translates into the adventure of experimenting with a new media or substrate in the darkroom or studio.”

Monroe said that the work on display will include not only her newer work, but also some of her more traditional hand-colored black and white photographs from the past few years.

“My art often has an Edenic theme or references to the future heaven on earth,” Monroe said. “What I currently create can best be described as photo-based mixed media; I take black & white photographs and incorporate them into collages on canvas or wood panel, then I use layers of colored pencils & acrylic paints to pull the whole piece together.”

Cemetery community outreach director Joe Finkleman describes this show, and art shows in general, as means of communicating vision.

“Every art venue has its own vision, even an evolving vision, to bring to the public,” Finkleman said, whose photography is on display at the cemetery throughout this month. “I see this gallery as a way to present art that is sophisticated; a mature personal vision that the artists whom we choose have spent a lifetime seeking the truth in their hearts and translating this into a solid piece of work. It isn’t always pretty, but it is always beautiful.”

ELENI STEPHANIDES can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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