These paintings from the beginning of the 80s are like a fingerprint of a tumultuous time in New York and they are also skillful and incredible precise studies of perspective, spatial depth and of repetitive, dynamic Forms.
In "Down Time" work there are arlequin-like dressed figures wearing red dots on their robes. A figure on the upper right holds a syringe. All the figures have crosses on their eyes, and thus are probably to be understood as dead people.
This painting may refer to the aids Pandemic or smallpox vaccination campaign from the 80s. There is a visual dynamism, even though the figures are in a quite static position.
In "Route 66" there is a motorcycle shedding its original surface and moving freely onto the gray surface. Rifka also combines the word Videocast, which was positioned on the shape of a television.
In "Kawasaki" we see a Kawasaki motorcycle form, which is in a progressive movement but also the name of the Night Club "Danceteria" is pasted on it: this club stood in New York until 1986. The construction lines in the background give the viewer a perspective view in a spatial depth.
In “Constructvists” we see red human figures that are moving across the black and yellow frame and also the words “See you later” wrote in Cyrillic. In the 80's the Cold War was still in its heyday – is this painting depicting the Soviet Army?
All these paintings are not only reflecting the volatile, transient club scene of New York, but also the everyday culture and life of the New Yorkers.
Judy Rifka - Route 66, 1980. Photo by Bryan Thatcher.
Judy Rifka - Constructivists, 1980. Photo by Bryan Thatcher.
Judy Rifka - Kawasaki, 1980. Photo by Bryan Thatcher.