PRINT Summer 1990


THROUGHOUT HER CAREER, Judith Shea has placed the female form—more accurately a series of its surrogates—at the center of her practice. If the work is feminist, however, it is neither overly theorized nor polemically bound to the direct critique of representation as it engages other, more ideologically minded female artists of her generation. Mary Kelly, for example, comes immediately to mind.1 Shea’s art affirms, instead, certain aspects of art history and tradition in part to assume the weight of their authority, even as it may reverse or undermine their terms.

Shea’s artistic development may be read as evolving from a closely reasoned dialogue with Minimalism—the reigning esthetic at the moment of her entry onto the art scene. In her early work, the purposeful reversal of many of its key tenets was conflated with a former fashion student’s interest in clothing, its structure and history.

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