Judith Belzer: 2014 Sussman Memorial Lecture – in Conversation with Robert Hass

The Department of Art Practice is pleased to invite you to

The 2014 Wendy Sussman Memorial Painting Lecture


In Conversation with Poet Robert Hass

7:30 – 9 pm, Monday, April 21st, 2014
160 Kroeber Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Reception to follow
Free and Open to the Public!


Judith Belzer, “Edgelands #31″, Oil on Canvas, 56″ x 56”, 2013.

My new work explores the complex relationships between nature and culture through the lens of the landscapes we have created. The current series investigates the edge lands where the built environment and the natural landscape converge, clash and interlace. The engagements that occur along such boundaries are dynamic, unpredictable and sometimes chaotic. Using a broad painting language of mark-making and a kind of bent, vertiginous perspective (often from an overhead angle) the paintings evoke a visceral sense of what it feels like to live in a landscape transformed by our own industriousness.

While our culture generally likes to segregate the natural and the built landscape into discreet categories of experience– the sublimity of nature over here, the creations of civilization over there—the paintings map out how we have in fact jammed our manufactured landscape right up into the natural one and in the process they capture the kinetic energy and agitated motion many of us experience in our 21st century lives. Elements of order, beauty and exhilaration can be found in this world but there is also tension and disorder when these landscapes meet up, as well as a terrific energy in the friction the encounter produces.

— Judith Belzer,  February 2013


Judith Belzer, “Edgelands #30″, Oil on Canvas, 56″ x 56”, 2013.

Judith Belzer, born in Chicago in 1956, studied literature at Bennington and Barnard College and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1979.  She studied at The New York Studio School from 1980-81 and was awarded a fellowship to the Yale University summer art program in 1981.  Belzer lived and worked for many years on the East Coast, first in New York City and then in New England, before moving to Berkeley California in 2003.  He work, which has been exhibited regularly since 1991 in New York, Chicago, LA,and  San Francisco,  generally explores the complex relationships between nature and culture through the lens of the landscapes we inhabit.  Belzer will have a solo exhibition at the George Lawson Gallery in San Francisco early in 2014.



Robert Hass is one of contemporary poetry’s most celebrated and widely-read voices. He served as the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 through 1997, and his poems are known for their lyricism and their West Coast subject matter. He has done work to promote the knowledge of ecology.


The Wendy Sussman Memorial Lecture in Painting honors UC Berkeley Associate Professor of Art Practice Wendy Sussman (1950-2001).