Judith Scott, a woman with Down’s Syndrome, spent the last ten years of her life producing a series of totally non-functional objects – obsessively wrapped, knotted, braided fiber masses revealing hints of concealed scavenged objects; pieces which loom large and wraithlike or sit as small tightly wound secrets. Her works, to us, appear to be works of Outsider art sculpture, except that the notion of sculpture may have been beyond her understanding. As well as being mentally disabled, Judith could not hear or speak, and she had little concept of language. Her compulsive involvement with the shaping of forms in space seemed to imply that at some level, she intended to create sculpture. Does serious mental retardation invariably preclude the creation of true works of art? Is it plausible to imagine an artist of stature emerging in the context of massively impaired intellectual development? Judith Scott’s work challenges our notions of art in a unique and often majestic way.
This lovely hardcover book is illustrated with beautiful color photographs by internationally renowned photographer Leon Borensztein