Judy Bales: Entangled

Judy Bales, a fiber artist from Fairfield, created a this unique fiber sculpture that is now on display at Indian Hills. Photo is courtesy of Judy Bales.

OTTUMWA — Judy Bales doesn’t fit into a typical art category and doesn’t plan on changing that anytime soon.

Bales is an artist from Fairfield who has 30 years of experience in diverse artistic endeavors, ranging from fiber artwork to fashion design. Art Curator and Indian Hills Professor Mark McWhorter worked for some time with Bales to coordinate her art exhibition, Entangled.

McWhorter wanted to put this art exhibition on, primarily because it is unique from most art exhibits that were put on in previous years at Indian Hills. “This show is a non-traditional show, with sculptures mostly on display,” McWhorter said. “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.”

As McWhorter planned the exhibition, he wanted to make sure it was done in a way Bales had hoped for. “We followed this show as per instructions,” McWhorter said. “She wanted to make a major impression as an artist, and I think she will.”

Attendees can look forward to analyzing three-dimensional sculptures that are made of 100 yards of wire that normally would have been thrown out.

“This is what I would consider as genius,” McWhorter said. “She can see the potential in art material that normally would have been thrown away. She is trying to make something enduring, something considered temporary. She utilizes materials in an ongoing effort to reveal beauty in unlikely places.”

McWhorter said Bales’ pieces are alluding to the “parallel complexity of humans and their interactions with the environment.” He said Bales is influenced by diverse cultures and time periods, including African and American art, Japanese aesthetics, Rococo paintings and contemporary Australian Aboriginal paintings. “For Bales, this fusion of seemingly unrelated art influences reflects the interrelatedness of all life,” he said.

McWhorter hopes the public and Indian Hills students will come to the exhibition. “It’s a very interesting show and it will challenge people to think,” he said. “They’ll leave the show wondering what was that. There are not many art galleries in southeast Iowa.”

Chiara Romero can be reached at cromero@ottumwacourier.com.

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