First Posted: 11/18/2014
Judy Takács shows the gray in their hair from years of worrying. She paints their bald heads wrapped in a scarf from their recent chemotherapy. “Chicks with Balls” gives a genuine depiction of the physical presence of each woman who posed for the series. They opened up about their lives and personal struggles and each painting is accompanied by an essay detailing experiences, losses and triumphs.
The series is in the Schulman Gallery at Luzerne County Community College through Dec. 6. According to Alison Schmidy Carson, director of the Gallery, this exhibit is an opportunity for LCCC to stand with women and declare the issues they deal with, the things the achieve, and how they appear in real life. The series depicts women in the nude, however, all the women are using sports balls to cover up their body parts.
“This exhibit states that we believe in real women,” Lisa Nelson, director of college relations at LCCC, said. “That we stand behind them as women. We brought the exhibit to LCC because we want to help promote women’s empowerment in everyday women.”
Takács has painted people for the past three decades.Even before the first “Chick” was painted, most of her works were nude figures. Art centers would not accept her pieces because of the nude element. An art director of one of the centers referred to the decision-makers as “the sports guys,” implying they cared more about high school sports then the visual arts, recalled Takacs.
“That statement got my wheels turning,” Takács said. “Women juggle the figurative ball every day, why can’t they juggle literal balls. They have sick parents, go through divorces, have full time jobs, taking care of children and some of this at the same time. It took me a year to create the whole idea and then I had to get some balls of my own to ask people to pose for the series.”
Takács began asking women to pose and they quickly saw she wanted to honor their courage. Every painting has a story to accompany it. “Some of the blogs are tearjerkers, others are not,” Takács said. “Some are long, some are short. It is all about what the subject wants to tell me.”
The oil paintings show scars from recent mastectomies. They show wrinkles from years of laughing or stretchmarks from hours of labor. Takács erases the objectified versions of women the public is bombarded with and replaces them with everyday women.
“I painted these women because I wanted to recognize unsung heroism that is performed everyday to make sure people in their lives thrive. I want women to look at them selves and know that they are a chick with balls and to see all the other chicks with balls in their own lives.”