b. 1934 , Chicago, IL
Judy Dolnick has been working and exhibiting her lush abstract paintings since the late 1950s where, upon her return to Chicago with her art degree from Stanford, she alongside artists Robert Natkin (whom she would marry in 1957), Gerald van de Wiele, and Ann Mattingly opened the Wells Street Gallery, as a reaction to the lack of opportunities for emerging artists to exhibit the expressionistic paintings they were making at the time. With the struggling folk singer Odetta rehearsing upstairs, Dolnick and her crew created what critic Max Kozloff called “an avant-garde exhibition place filled with the most advanced abstractions in town.” The Wells Street Gallery is credited for giving many of the group, including the sculptor John Chamberlain, their first solo exhibition.
Dolnick moved to New York City in 1959 and began exhibiting alongside such seminal abstract artists as Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn and Franz Kline at the prestigious Poindexter Gallery. In the 1980s, she was represented by Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery. Her last solo exhibition there in 1987 and was reviewed by Michael Brenson in The New York Times who called her work the answer to “Matisse, Kandinsky and Dufy.”
Dolnick is most influenced by expressionism, and her works pay homage to Van Gogh (with whom she shares a birthday), Gauguin, and Redon. Except for the slight pull of nostalgia, Dolnick’s nonfigurative paintings are without a hint of gravity. Her seemingly endless expression of color is spontaneous and intuitive. In a mode of receptive reverie, Dolnick offers a surreal world dense with bucolic, ambiguous and semi-familiar shapes that suggest landscapes through scattered pulses of paint. Rhythm and gesture play a critical role in the process of Dolnick’s work, a process she has continued to develop despite of her absence from the New York art world. This selection of paintings are like bright daydream fantasies.