Reflections on the Bears

December 20, 2018 - February 2, 2019

Gallery Walk December 28th • 5-8 pm 

Artist Chat Saturday, December 29th • 10 am


While at first glance Judith Kindler‘s latest body of work looks like child’s play with the use of Teddy bears but they underline the concern that Kindler has in her look at the loss of innocence in contemporary life and her reflections of finding hope, joy and peace amidst corruption, hate and abuse. The Teddy bear is innocence and maybe for Kindler, she wants that back.


Kindler tackles three different ideas via motifs in creating a narrative in this work. The first, that of unity through a zen like understanding of “harm no one” and finding peace within, exemplified by the zen-like circles. The second, the morphing of a small child becoming a bear cub, reflecting on the ideas of reincarnation as the ultimate karma for allowing bears and cubs to be killed while they are hibernating, as a result of a recent horrific loosening of hunting laws. Lastly, the work titled “They thought they could bury us. They did not know we were seeds” is a reflection on the oppression of thought, gender, race, ecological preservation, and religion - the “seeds” offering up a sense of hope for our future.


One of Kindler’s three-dimensional bear installation references the story of Theodore Roosevelt’s hunting trip, where his cohorts who had all killed an animal, beat and tied a bear up to a tree and told Teddy who had not yet killed an animal that he could shoot the bear. Theodore or Teddy was revolted by this activity and told the man to put the bear out of it’s misery and he disgustedly walked away.


Political cartoons of the day showed an illustration of Teddy Roosevelt walking away from the scene where the bear was tied up and eventually this cartoon evolved into the bear being a small adorable cub referring to the scene as “Teddy’s bear”. An enterprising man decided that the small cub was indeed adorable and made the first stuffed bears calling them “Teddy bears” which became a huge commercial success. This installation of nine bears connected together by ropes and covered in jewels, playfully and satirically portrays the story of the origin of Teddy Bears.