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These new works are made of varied materials and many parts of my life. Chunks of blemished wood, pony tails, a good sleeve, wax shards, a clay head, scattered around the studio, full of promise, are now applied. There are peculiar personal juxtapositions - a wooden torso carved like a dress pattern, a thick, funky swatch of felt sewn into armor, hair made of Berkshires lamb's wool and Mexican horse tails, eyes modeled after Bernini - insights gained by training, curiosity, or accident. Stories and statues of the ancients, aristocrats, conquistadors, patriots, saints, soldiers, dolls have had influence. When I see them, though, brought together as a body of work, I feel as if I had been picking up the pieces from the wider world's inevitable spin. Residual feelings, incongruities of time and place, spiritual inquiry drop out of the whirl. Is this "Urban Francis" Giotto's monk, or did I see him on my street corner? In this image abundant universe, can it be sorted out, each point of impact? Still, I play with the hair, scorch the wood, fit the coat, stitch the felt. I work on it and I ponder.


Judith Shea New York, 9/7/04