“I am an artist and my passion is to paint people,” explains Takács. “A few years ago, I began asking female friends and family to take off their tops and pose for me, holding balls to cover their breasts. Oddly enough, many said ye, and here’s why. These chicks have balls…and not just the kind it takes to have fun and show some skin. They are the unsung heroes of their ordinary lives and that’s why I chose them for my epic portrait project.”
The balls they choose for coverage symbolize the obstacles and struggles they overcome throughout their daily lives. Large balls symbolize overwhelming burdens, while overflowing armfuls of balls represent juggling many issues. Other symbolic balls include Magic 8 balls, basketballs, wiffle balls and crystal balls; each with their own meaning.
“I blog about each portrait I paint and chronicle the challenges and triumphs these women have faced, at chickswithballsjudytakacs.blogspot.com,” says Takács. “They create, they laugh, and write and learn. They fall down and get back up. They start, triumph, and start again. They care for and fight for. They help, they lead, they heal, they love. And quietly and efficiently from the shadows, they make sure the people in their charge, thrive.”
Takács hopes viewers will see their own mothers, wives, sisters and friends as “Chicks with Balls.”
“Chicks with Balls honors ordinary women whose daily acts of courage go largely unnoticed,” says Takács. “The women in my series are magistrates, nurses, artists, professors, arts administrators, and caregivers. They are widows, divorcees, mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and all are independent souls. They are you and they are me. These portraits beckon the viewer to recognize heroism in their own friends, moms, sisters and wives and in themselves. Many women have volunteered to pose – a an act of courage in itself.”
As the series continues to evolve, Takács continues to meet strong women with incredible stories. One recent model has a particularly unique and powerful story.
“My painting triptych, ‘Becoming Shannon,’ shows this special woman who is transitioning through gender re-assignment,” Takács reveals. “He is becoming a she. As I finish her portrait, I will blog about her paintings and story on my blog. My paintings of Shannon will be shown for the first time at Tri-C Gallery East, as part of, Chicks with Balls: Judy Takács Paints Unsung Female Heroes and I look forward to the eyebrows it will raise and questions to be answered. It was fun, fascinating and educational for me to meet and paint Shannon. I hope to share some of the understanding and insights I gained through my portraits of her.”
Stop by for an opening reception from 6 to 8:30 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 29. The exhibition remains on view through Nov. 24. Chicks with Balls: Judy Takács Paints Unsung Female Heroes is available on Blurb. Takács created the book in celebration of the initial exhibition of Chicks with Balls at BAYarts in 2013, with support through a grant from the Ohio Arts Council.
(Tri-C Gallery East) 4250 Richmond Rd., Highland Hills, 216-987-2095, tri-c.edu
Judy Takács’ ongoing series of oil paintings, Chicks with Balls, comes to Gallery East on Tri-C’s Eastern Campus this Thursday, Oct. 29. The series currently includes 39 life-size oil portraits depicting local women (many of whom are artists and/or arts professionals) topless, holding various round balls in front of their breasts. The work presents these women as “unsung heroes of their Midwestern lives.”