Judy Ledgerwood’s 1999 solo exhibition Cold Days featured ten drawings and five new paintings based on winder light, each named after compositions on Miles Davis’s seminal album Kind of Blue. The works were characterized by a lilac-tone palette of subtly modulating fields of blues, greens, and browns extremely muted as to convey the sense of a pale winter light. The scale, compositional devices, use of color, and integrity to the flat picture plane in Ledgerwood's work reveal her to be an unabashed modernist. From her early, landscape-based abstractions to her later color-field works, the artist has investigated abstraction’s romantic roots and its repressed relationship to beauty. But in contrast to paintings by Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, as well as other artists associated with the New York School, Ledgerwood questions the extent to which beauty and high moderism were ever mutually exclusive. For Ledgerwood, what is ultimately at work behind abstract painting’s formalist aspirations, is visual pleasure.
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