Building on 30 years of experience in diverse artistic endeavors, including fiber artist, avant garde fashion designer and bridge design team member; Judy Bales creates art that is the exciting and improbable marriage of cold industrial materials and the sensuality of nature. She utilizes industrial materials, many of which are found, recycled, or salvaged, in an ongoing effort to reveal beauty in unlikely places.
The broad range of Bales’ work is clearly unified by a sensibility that asserts the power of an artist to create beauty from anything, and convey that simple but vital truth to an audience. With various combinations of fiber, metal, wood, and other materials, she takes seemingly intractable disparities between the visual and the tactile, between the industrial and the aesthetic, and reconciles them in favor of beauty. By manipulating materials in ways and for contexts for which they were never intended, whether mangling the precise configuration of a plastic grid or turning steel and wire into a dress that is a cross pollination of prom and punk, she embraces creative transformation and a form of subversion that’s alluring and nourishing to the imagination.
Bales, who received both her BFA and MFA degrees from the University of Georgia, majored in painting as an undergraduate and completed her post-graduate work in fiber art. This combination of very distinct even unlike disciplines has served her well and helps to explain her unique work. While closer to a fiber artist in her choice of materials, she approaches her art more like an abstract painter, relying on improvisation and painterly techniques rather than the more precise, controlled approach traditionally favored by fiber artists.