Doug McClemont, Judit Reigl, ARTnews October 2009

Judit Reigl
Janos Gat Gallery

A dozen mixed-media works by Hungarian-born artist Judit Reigl occupied nearly all the wall space in this large gallery. All but one of the paintings were created in the 70s and are part of what the artist calls her "Déroulement", or "Unfolding", series. As the name implies, it is the process of fabrication that is at the heart of the 86-year-old artist's oeuvre.
Reigl, who first worked figuratively and then went on to abstraction, showed her concern with capturing movement for her cosmos-like "Outburst"(1955-56) paintings, as well as in "Man" (1966-73), her series of semiabstract male torsos for wich the subjects pressed their bodies on to canvas, with the imprints recalling the technique of Yves Klein.
Early on, Reigl drew inspiration for her automatic techniques from the Surrealists (Breton and Ernst were fans of her experimentation).
To make the "Unfolding" works that the were shown here, she strolled across the backs of her canvases, dabbing and sweeping them with a handmade sponge. While the paint seeped through, cheminal interactions between the oils and the acrylics continued the painting process. The beautiful battle between intention and accident became the subject of the work itself, and each piece is a king of the artist's studio "performance".
The markings on the canvases at times look like brickwork, vehicle tracks, or cave drawings. But mostly they suggest musical notes, memories of songs sung long ago.
For Reigl the act of creating is simply about discovery. The canvas is a place where a gesture can become a poem. Every one of the artist'sworks, though there remains very little actual paint on the surface, exists as a map of her life, and is anything but fragile.