Judith Shea

May 9 – June 28, 2014


Since her work was first seen at The Clocktower in 1976, Shea has been know for the constant pursuit of her interest in the observation of people and the exploration of materials, especially cloth as it interacts with the human form.

She began with a degree in fashion design from Parsons (1966–69), but finding the technical and aesthetic roots of the practice more interesting than fashion, she took her ideas into visual art, earning her BFA at Parsons/New School in 1975. With this unique double training, she quickly became known as “the artist who makes clothes” and was invited to work on design collaborations with Trisha Brown, and the Eye and Ear Theater Company—working with artists like Red Grooms and Elizabeth Murray.

In retrospect, Shea has stated, “That highly disciplined study in fashion served me well as an essential training for building a figure. I used what I knew, and that was the unique underpinning to my work.”

Fascinated also by the severe logic of the Minimalists during these years—Judd/the cube, Lewitt/the grid, and Morris's use of felt—Shea quoted this formal language in her work, juxtaposing figural elements to it. This austerity of form, she found, could be powerfully impacted with the addition of emotion and “the human presence.” With this she conceived a future path for figuration, which reached a crescendo in her series of work from 2006–09 recently featured at the Yale University Art Gallery, Judith Shea: Legacy Collection.

Kent Fine Art is pleased to present seven new sculptures by Judith Shea that pay tribute to the role of women in the arts, while demonstrating her virtuosity with materials and her keen sense of observation. A fully illustrated monograph that documents Shea’s work from 1976 to the present will accompany the exhibition. The publication will be available online on May 1, with the hardcover book available in June.




"Breaking Out of Convention"

Wall Street Journal | May 24, 2014 | Peter Plagens