Born in London and raised in Rome and New York, Judith Barnes works in the visual and performing arts. Founder and Artistic Director of indie opera company Vertical Player Repertory Opera 1998-present, www.vpropera.org
LEIMAY Fellow, 2016-2018. Member of New Clay Studios, Brooklyn, 2010-2020.
Training in vocal performance
The Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University; OperaWorks L.A.; Bel Canto Bootcamp.
Voice study with Virginia Zeani, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, Klara Barlow, Diana Soviero, David Jones, Francesca Mondanaro
Active Private Voice Studio
Director of Summer Vocal Arts, Brooklyn Music School, 2018-present
Opera Workshop Director and Voice Instructor, Lucy Moses School at Kaufman Center, 2010-present
Past positions: Voice instructor, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Brooklyn Conservatory; Opera Director, La Guardia HS, CityWide Youth Opera.
Training in visual arts
The New York Studio School (Bruce Gagnier, Jock Ireland, Elaine DeKooning, Leland Bell), the Art Students League (Marshall Glasier, José de Creeft), Greenwich House Pottery (Peter Lane), other studies with Pat Passlof, Ben Dienes, apprentice to sculptor José de Creeft.
Gowanus Open Studios, Behind the Door, Brooklyn, NY, 2018
Sculptural work featured in Women of Salt and Longing, a live performance at the LEIMAY SOAK Festival, 2018
Group Show at The Old Garage Gallery, Pine Hill, NY, 2016
Solo show at Basta Pasta, NYC, 2014
PROCESS: GOWANUS, Norte Maar Curated Studio Tour, 2014
Gowanus Open Studios at New Clay Studios, Brooklyn, NY, yearly 2010-2017
I am a multi-disciplinary artist—a singer, sculptor, and theater maker. My roots are in the visual arts, and I pursue a parallel vocation as an opera singer and director. In recent years, I have returned to a visual arts practice I had put on hold while concentrating on opera. As I develop a body of sculptural work, I continue to perform, direct, and teach opera, and I serve as artistic director of the indie opera company Vertical Player Repertory.
I have been pulled all my life between the poles of the most ephemeral, music, and that most durable of art forms, sculpture. With my singing I seek to catch the wave of invisible, intangible structure and spirit, and to communicate directly to my audience. With clay I am drawn to explore both the fragility and the endurance of our physical being. When I envision, produce and perform opera theater, I am moved to sculpt in time, space, and sound.
ABOUT MY SCULPTURE
Since early times, clay has been pressed into forms that reflect, extend and support the human body. The clay figure, with its hard fleshiness, holds a unique spiritual charge. The clay vessel holds water, food, the ashes of the dead. The vessel protects and encloses an empty space full of possibility. In sculpture that always refers back to the body, I look to shape the idea of empty space inside form, the inside/outside of the body/vessel, the conflicting experience of the body as a deeply interior place and yet an external, protective shell. The visceral experience of wrestling form from earth, water, and fire mirrors my own wrestling match with my body and its limitations and contours.