Since1997, Judy Natal’s photographs have explored the visual narratives landscapes and alterations to those landscapes hold. By 2006, her focus had progressively shifted toward interpreting landscapes that have been altered by scientists, engineers, designers, and utopians. Most recently, she has ventured into the world of robotics to examine our complex relationship to machines built in our own image, which ultimately raises questions of what it means to be human. Her work continues to describe important aspects of our contemporary world and contribute significant observations about mankind’s ideas of nature, our effect on our landscapes, and what the future might hold for us environmentally.
Natal is a Chicago-based artist, Professor of Photography and Coordinator of the Graduate Program at Columbia College, author of EarthWords, published in 2004 by Light Work, and Neon Boneyard Las Vegas A-Z, published in 2006 by Center for American Places. Her photographs are in permanent public and private collections of the California Museum of Photography, Center for Creative Photography, the International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Bibliothèque nationale de France, and the Museum of Art, São Paulo, Brazil, among others. Her work has been exhibited at Projects International, Photograph Gallery and Jack Hanley Gallery in New York City, the Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Kathleen Ewing Gallery, Washington, D.C., and the São Paulo Biennal in Brazil. She has received numerous grants and fellowships including a Fulbright Travel Grant, Illinois Arts Council Photography Fellowships, Polaroid Grants and New York Foundation for the Arts Photography Fellowships.
Natal has also been awarded many artist residencies nationally and internationally, most recently in Iceland, the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon, and the Biosphere 2 where she established an artist residency program to invite artists to create a cultural response to this man-made wonder of the world. In 2012, Future Perfect was established as a permanent archive at the Center for Art + Environment, Nevada Museum of Art, which houses the largest landscape photography collection in the world.
She ultimately questions what it means to be human. Most recently she is working on a project about the weather while in residence in the Faroe Islands.