Philadelphia

Tom Judd

Snyderman Gallery

Though they look back to the tradition of 19th-century American landscape painting, Tom Judd’s recent paintings also reaffirm what is fundamental to their own iconography. In his earlier works, the landscape is an open field in which a lone figure might sit on a sofa or appear statuelike on a pedestal, and is as likely to be found surrounded by potted house plants as by trees. In this interiorized exterior, it was the “modern idiom” (the title of a 1981 painting) that Judd was exploring, and his primary sources were the magazine advertisements of the ’50s—the decade of his early childhood. His improvisational painting style and his signature quick, drippy brushstrokes recall the same decade—that of the Abstract Expressionists. By the end of the ’80s, Judd’s landscapes were decidedly Western in flavor, engaging the cultural mythology of cowboys and Indians, before being emptied of human

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