Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Artist of the Week

"#92" gouache on paper 24" x 24" 2003

Julie Gross
In preparation for this week's featured artist, I was doing a bit of research at work, looking through her paintings and prior interviews, etc. A random co-worker walked by and made this comment after asking what I was looking at: "I like the colors, but it's just circles. What's the big deal?". Well in that moment, in the office I bit my tongue a bit and simply said, "What can not be contained by a circle? Just think of the power, the eternal motion held within the shell of a circle." He just walked away, but I felt pretty good about the interaction.

The completeness, the self-contained beauty of a circle is almost too simple to be brilliant, but it is brilliant nonetheless. Whether it is the polished gold wedding ring, the tire on your daughter's first bike, the baseball that Barry Bonds uses to destroy purity of the game, the circle is a thing power and meaning. No one understands the beauty of the circle quite like New York resident Julie Gross. Julie has been exploring the infinite possibilities of the circle since 1998. Her work has been described as "bubble slices" or "a network or matrix of interlocking circles and bulbous shapes derived from circles, notably a plump, animated teardrop shape".

"Ayin" oil on linen 48" x 48" 2005

Imagine a warm summer day in your childhood, sitting on the front porch with a bottle of bubbles. The bright pink bottle clutched in your hands, you anticipate magic and plunge your fingers into the soapy liquid. Pulling out the fluorescent green wand and pressing it to your lips, you gently blow, creating to a world of various shaped bubbles, some free floating others clustered closely together. After first glance this world appears transparent, however, as it floats along the sun hits each circle creating a splashes of color inside the circles and upon the cement below. It is at that very moment that Julie steps up at slices the bubbles exposing their insides, and revealing the beauty of the circle.

When creating, Julie always begins with a compass and tracing paper to develop her ideas. These drawn circles and the emptiness in between are filled, and essentially brought to life, with color. The most compelling drawings are then transferred on to linen and painted with oil paints.

"Swuform" oil on linen 24" x 24" 2001

There seems to be two different levels or stages to her work, first the placement of the circles and second the selection of the colors. Her colors tend be muted and more subtle, but it is in the combination of the various tones and shades that the true nature and motion of the circles is fully developed. When I discussed which pieces I would feature today with Julie, she was interested to see which pieces that I would chose and was anticipating seeing how they would look together. When viewing her work as a whole you can see patterns in both shape and color, and I am hoping that my selections will served those patterns justice.
"#61" gouache on paper 16" x 16" 2001

For more information on Julie Gross and to purchase some of her pieces you can visit her website. Also check out this full interview conducted last year by Julie Karabenick of Geoform

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