Regal Treatment: The Art of Judi Regal

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Take notice of abstract artist Judi Regal as she showcases her knack for color and expressionism through her one of a kind paintings. 

As an art critic, it’s not unusual for me to receive hundreds of press releases from galleries and museums about their related events almost every day. The greatest advantage in reading these seemingly endless daily “briefs” is that unsurprisingly you gain an accurate perspective on the international art world, as well as information that pertains to South Florida and the immediate community, which are the geographical areas that I most frequently cover. Accordingly, it’s always rewarding to come across an ambitious artist in mid-career who possesses a brilliant sense of color and composition, along with an independent voice of creativity and individuality. 

I particularly was pleased to discover the painterly works of Judi Regal, who makes her art in both Palm Beach County and Chicago, and is renovating a handsome studio and showplace on Designer Row in downtown West Palm Beach, opening in January. Ms. Regal began painting at the age of five in her hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts, where her fascination with color and its application to fine art was a great motivator to absorb inspiration and find a challenging direction in which to develop while studying at the local art guild. There she learned the basic skills to continue maturing into a talented artist, who now is about to make waves with her latest series of paintings that will be on display at the Coral Springs Museum of Art in a solo survey exhibition (opening December 2017). 

As a young girl, she continued to explore her natural curiosity for painting, and had two supportive parents who were avid art collectors and patrons, and who helped direct her imaginative ideas and put them into reality. At this point in her career, Ms. Regal is exploring the magical development of abstracted landscapes that incorporate color field gestures, disparate marks and vanishing points in addition to irregular geometric shapes on black backgrounds. While in Florida, Regal concentrates on the motivational aspects of the nearby expansive Everglades, where she truly feels the connection to nature and its wild inhabitants that live in the water and in the air.  She enjoys the task of capturing the extensive variety of complex elements depicting this environment, which long has been an exciting atmosphere for artists and photographers. In her “Fire” series, the artist is prompted by a cycle of natural occurrences that often temporarily destroy the existing pristine landscape as it burns down to the ground level, paradoxically providing nourishment that contributes to the rebirth of our forest and ecosystems.

Traditionally, artists often have portrayed their studio environments through a window which acts as a natural filter to the outer world which also acts as a “framing” device famously utilized by Matisse on the Côte d’Azur. Regal’s current series called “Reflection,” consisting of various abstracted cityscapes derived from examining the outside from the inside that also seem to melt into the dark backgrounds. Each form seems to push forward and backward, initiating a constant illusion of movement, and is a handsome and clever approach to picture-making. In this collection, light is refracted directly off panes of glass, representing the landscape within the sky, which may provoke positive memories of a similar day in the past. The reflections also offer contrasting accents that add an idiosyncratic spice and variety to her beautiful compositions.

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Judi Regal attended the University of Texas in Austin, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design and illustration. Later, she was one of only seven students to be admitted to an exclusive and competitive academic program specializing in interior architecture. Prior to dedicating her career solely to painting, she founded and operated a successful graphic design company in the Windy City.

Ms. Regal follows the great and distinguished practice of mainstream Florida landscape painters, stretching back into the early 19th century, who found the light and organic surroundings a perfect incentive for artists to produce invigorating works of art. As a colorist who admires Wolf Kahn and Oscar Bluemner, she likes to combine the immediacy of Post-War American abstract expressionism and color field paintings. However, in all of Regal’s work, regardless of the narrative, the viewer can decipher a true passion of painting in her unusual knack for welding together sensuous colors and inventive forms, which assist in emphasizing the stylized look of Judi’s splendid compositions.

This brand of “visual poetry” is apparent in all of Regal’s colorful works, which possess a strong common denominator of elements that are recognizable as the artist’s own distinctive signature pattern. In all her artwork, this gifted painter challenges herself by methodically staying within the design confines of each series, allowing her idiosyncratic style to support each canvas, but at the same time providing a splendid observational experience that is satisfying and memorable.

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For more information on the artist go to: www.judiregal.com.

Bruce Helander is an artist who writes on art. He is a member of the Florida Artists Hall of Fame and is a former White House Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts. His work is in over fifty museum permanent collections, including the Whitney and Guggenheim.