My Mother The Surrealist
Judy Fletcher (1934 - 2020)
Artwork made by women has been so often overlooked, ignored or lost. No longer! This page is the art exhibition my mother never had. I hope you enjoy it.
In the 1950s, before she got married and had children, my mother Judy drew and painted. She studied at Wimbledon School of Art for a year and spent a year as an au pair in Paris exploring and soaking up culture. She never called herself an artist and she never had an exhibition of her work. A few of her paintings always hung on the walls in our house. People said they were strange. When I asked her why she did not continue to paint, she just shrugged her shoulders, frowned and said she had no time. After Judy died in 2020, we found a portfolio of several dozen more paintings, mainly dating from the mid-1950s.
Visiting the 'Angel of Anarchy' retrospective of the work of British-Argentinian Surrealist Eileen Agar (1899-1991) at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2021, I was struck by how much my mother's paintings resemble some of Agar's earlier work in style and themes. I had never before seen my mother's paintings in a context, as part of a wider genre or creative art tradition. My mother was a Surrealist. Why have I only just realised this?
Saute de Veau au Pamplemousse
Guildford Cathedral (1960s)