Artist’s Statement


Epiphany. Judy Leventhal.

As a sculptor who uses organic materials, my life is continually shaped by places of  exquisite high desert beauty, surrounding the Los Angeles Urban Basin, not far from well traveled highways and freeways.

Vasquez Park Nature Preserve, in the Santa Clarita Valley, and California’s Red Rock Canyon State Park, in the Antelope Valley, at the Western edge of the Mohave Desert, are two such places. I continue to draw creative inspiration from these rugged, yet delicate environments, sculpted in time by powerful geological forces and the surface flow of wind and water.

My interests are centered in the cyclic rhythms and patterns of life; natural orders of growth and decay; and ecologies that sustain these processes. My work is a blend of artistic inquiry, complemented by science research.

Earth Light

                 Earth Light. Judy Leventhal.

Each sculpture begins with a clay foundation. The physical processes of working with clay, pressing, carving, twisting, and lifting, connect me to the universal rhythms of life.  The clay compositions serve as armatures upon which organic paper sculptures are built with multiple layers of paper mache. Once the paper sculptures dry, the clay armatures are removed and a light weight paper sculpture remains.

My interests include the art forms of sculpting with organic materials, mask making and painting.  Group exhibition venues include USC Helen Lindhurst Fine Arts Gallery; Brand Library Art Gallery; and University Museum, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

For twelve years, the masks I designed and the masks of my students were exhibited in the Adventures in Creativity Exhibit Booth at the International Festival of Masks, Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles.

Solo exhibitions of my work include a twenty year retrospective, Masks: Ecology of the Spirit, Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles; and Desert Masks, Red Rock Canyon Visitors Center, Red Rock Canyon State Park, in California’s Antelope Valley, at the western edge of the Mohave Desert.

My interests in masks began in early adolescence, while researching both ancient and contemporary cultural art forms. Masks have been a central part of ceremonies reenacting myths of creation; used as instruments of initiation; agents of social order; and objects of transformation throughout the life cycle. As a contemporary art form, masks are vehicles for the exploration of elements of experience often hidden beneath the surface in today’s rapid world of change.

An aspect of my artistic expression includes Mask Making Adventures, designed for children and youth, which I present in schools and agencies in and around Los Angeles. The program is listed in the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Arts for All Education Resource Directory.

Publications include Creative Approaches with Adolescents in Distress, California Art Therapy Trends, 1993; The World in Me, Terra Magazine, 1999, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; and a photo display of children’s masks in Super Kids Magazine, 2009, Rowland Reading Foundation, reprinted , 2012

My education includes a Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, UCLA; and a Master s Degree in Social Work, California State University San Diego. I am licensed as a Clinical Social Worker, registered as an Art Therapist, and certified as a Teaching Artist.