Judy Bales

Judy Bales

Fairfield, IA


Building on 35 years of experience in diverse artistic endeavors, including fiber artist, fashion artist and public art design team member, Judy Bales creates art that is the exciting and improbable marriage of cold industrial materials and the sensuous qualities of nature.  She utilizes industrial materials, many of which are found, recycled, or salvaged, in an ongoing effort to reveal beauty in unlikely places.

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.

Bales has exhibited her fiber and fashion art in more than 100 exhibitions throughout the US and abroad, and has completed 10 permanent public art projects for highways and trails in the US.


Artist Statement

I construct surfaces or forms that reflect and emulate the beauty and mystery of nature or natural phenomena, akin to the idea of biomimicry. I love nature’s precise order which combines with its captivating dishevelment (think tangled vines or water rushing over jagged rocks). Observations of this energy and freedom direct my creative process.  

For this work, I wrapped wire fencing with cloth, a systematic process which I then altered by expressive crushing and crinkling, finally painting multiple layers of acrylics and finally scumbling the surface to create a bark-like appearance.

Judy Bales, Tangled Heart, 2022, Mixed media, 25 " x 16" x 17"