New York

Judith Shea

Willard Gallery

Judith Shea’s sartorial themes make for elegant, witty sculptures. Whether she casts a dress in bronze, iron, canvas, or any more traditional haberdasher’s material, she winds up with a modern figurative archetype and a succinct accommodation of our two abiding formal referents, human anatomy and the exposed esthetic of minimalism. Shea never strays far from the dressmaker’s dummy or from the standard sectional organization of sewing patterns, which also places her work within shouting distance of the altered ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp and, surprisingly perhaps, a mere whisper away from some of Duchamp’s less-known, later sculptural objects such as Wedge of Chastity and Female Fig Leaf, both of 1951, cast in bronze, and bearing fashion messages.

The dummy’s suggested presence has the further, and felicitous, effect of transporting Shea’s figures out of the realm of currency (the domain

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