The Fairfield Mirror

'Flesh and Blood'
Judith Page displays her work at the Lukacs Gallery

By Maryn Mikula

Published: Thursday, April 11, 2002

On Tuesday March 26, 2002, The Lukacs Gallery of Fairfield University hosted the opening reception for Judith Page's exhibition, "Flesh and Blood." The artist has skillfully manipulated the gallery space to undulate with the tension, mystery and unsettling atmosphere similar to that of an abandoned murder scene.

Upon entering the gallery, guests are initially greeted by the sound of Judith Page's voice; an audio recording that includes a narrative, songs, an acoustic guitar and various accompanying instruments. Through the recording, viewers learn the details of one woman's relation to the legendary unsolved homicide of varsity cheerleader, Bonnie Ann Brown.

Ms. Brown was of the utmost perfection and had beauty worthy of envy. Regardless, her lifeless body was found in her car on the university campus. She had been strangled to death with her bra. The narrator on the cassette tape reveals how such an unsolved crime has continued to affect her personal life.

Within the entrance of the gallery, three framed pieces are hung in a series on the left wall. All three are 4"x6" photographs that have been coated by a synthetic ooze of two different colors. The flesh colored coatings appear to cover the head and shoulders of the assumed person in each photograph.

Yet, only specific facial features are allowed to still to peak through. The black coating fills in the remaining space and thus provides a dramatic background to the shapes created by the fleshy glaze. From left to right, the pieces are titled Jenny (2002), Dennis (2000) and Jennie (2001).

Through the archway, the observant viewer takes notice of the small doll arms protruding from either wall. Each arm is installed palms-up. The palms of both hands have been stained red.

Stepping into the gallery's largest room is most overwhelming. Roughly five feet from the floor at one and a half inch intervals, drips of red and orange 'mixed media' travel the length of the main gallery wall and half of the far gallery wall. It is as if an orderly, articulate, and precise murder had taken place and the murderer used his artistic discretion to splatter the victim's remains.

In contrast, the wall itself looks as though it could be bleeding along a linear laceration. Each dribble is textured by the presence of bubbles, popped or not, within the media itself. Such an effect gives viewers a sense of frozen immediacy; as if at any moment, these dribbles could continue to move towards the floor. The piece is titled "Blood Music."

Page has created a compelling installation. Despite the eeriness of her photographs, the disturbance of her doll hands and the haunting of "Blood Music," viewers and guests remain in the exhibit. Guests hang onto the lyrics of the audio recording in search of an answer. Even stranger is finding yourself singing Judith Page's daunting songs hours after seeing the show.