Judith Shea

The work of Judith Shea was introduced to me when I was a graduate student at NYU in the early 1990s, and she remains one of my favorite sculptors.
Born in 1948, Shea’s early training was as a clothing designer. Her first sculptures were simple forms made of pliant fabric hung on the wall. Later, she began casting fabric in metal to achieve greater strength and rigidity. The use of clothing forms allowed her to represent the human figure using the most economical of means and to synthesize figurative art and Minimalism. In the mid-1980s, Shea began juxtaposing figures with forms and then pairing figures, giving her work added psychological complexity. She is best known for a series of works in bronze in which she creates empty clothing forms which suggest figures that are not present; some of her more recent work incorporates figures as well. Shea’s work is included in the collections of numerous museums including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture
Garden in Washington, D.C., the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn., and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

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