[Clinging to the Edge of the Page]

Judith Mason
Clinging to the Edge of the Page
Clinging to the Edge of the Page

Judith Mason, Clinging to the Edge of the Page, 2015, Lithograph, sheet: 23 13/16 in. x 18 3/4 in. (60.5 cm x 47.6 cm), Gift of Pamela Allara in memory of Judith Mason 2017.41

 

 

One of the last works of art produced by Judith Mason, Clinging to the Edge of the Page is the first piece by the artist to enter the Davis collections. Born in Pretoria, South Africa, Mason studied art in college and had her first solo exhibition only a few years after graduation. In addition to her career as an artist, Mason taught at universities in both South Africa and Florence, Italy. She represented South Africa at several international art biennials, including the Venice Biennale in 1966 and the São Paulo Biennale in 1973.
 
A prolific artist, Mason’s realist style informs her typically figural work, which is full of symbolic meaning. This print is composed of loose, lightening-yellow scrawls between the head, hands, and feet of an upside down monkey who grasps the edges of the page tightly in a trompe-l’oeil embrace. Mason discussed this print specifically: “This was a chance to play with monkey forms and to use two languages, that of scrawled line and that of conventional drawing. I also wanted to tease the viewer's suspension of belief by reminding him/her that, however lively, the image is just crayon on paper after all. Hence the title.” (Artists Press, 2015) Clinging to the Edge of the Page can be seen in the Davis galleries until December 17, 2017 in the exhibition Life on Paper: Contemporary Prints from South Africa.