12 October 2006
Art Student's Portable Mural Depicts Family Farm
Judy Mayer, who will receive her bachelor's of fine arts degree
in April, painted six connected, portable murals with a total dimension of 8 feet tall by 26 feet wide. And beyond that,
she has reached higher goals, using the logistics of thinking big for her acrylic pieces, using every color on the color
wheel in both subtle and intense strengths. Her talents make her down-on-the-farm mural, titled “Where the Coosa River Bends,”
as real as though the viewer was driving through the farm's wooden gates and headed towards the barn.
In the studio classroom of the JSU art department, the six connected murals covered two walls. According to Charles Groover,
chairman of the Art Department, it is the largest body of work ever produced in the department.
The portable mural, which depicts Mayer's family farm, Riverbend, in Ragland, was the talk of the department for months.
Riverbend belongs to the Wright family and is the cattle-raising farm for Mayer's brother, David Wright, who owns
Wright's Dairy in Alexandria.
The painting was a multi-step project, Mayer says, and took 13 months to complete. Mayer's daily development taking the
work from scale drawing to a huge surface became the focus of students. Soon it became a one-woman exhibit in progress.
Last month, “Where the Coosa River Bends” was transported to Birmingham, where it fills the walls of the Wright Dairy Ice
Cream and Natural Foods, a small restaurant owned by Carla Manning, Mayer's niece. Customers who have dined in the restaurant,
located one mile south of The Summit on U.S. 280, say the design is both restful and stimulating, Mayer reports. The natural
beauty of the cedar trees, lake, sky and the look of contented cows give the mural a peaceful mood, but the viewer feels
unseen energy behind it all.
“My intention was that the tractor going down the hill and the well-tended fields speak of the farmer's discipline and hard work,”
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