Photograph of Julia Whitney Barnes  by Sean Hemmerle

Photograph of Julia Whitney Barnes  by Sean Hemmerle

ARTIST'S STATEMENT

 

A variety of source images are conjoined into unusual landscapes and spaces. My work is a hybrid mixture of interiors, exteriors, realities and fictions. The resulting works combine my drawings and photographs from actual travels along with imagery from places I long to visit, nearby areas and other imagined scenes. I work in the style of many Hudson River School artists who created composite paintings based on sketches from several days and locations distilled into a single image.

"Bricks and Stones May Break," comes from my fascination with the history of these structures. Though our past has spawned many building technologies, our most enduring structures were crafted from brick and stone.  Living in Brooklyn, it was an almost daily event that I saw brick edifices demolished, disassembled into piles that were gathered and carted off to points unknown and started collecting bricks from destroyed buildings and defunct brickyards. Of the estimated 400 brickyards along the Hudson I currently have approximately 165 brickyards (and hundreds of bricks) represented in my collection. I am currently undertaking a public art installation comprised of hundreds of these historic Hudson River Bricks installed to form a scale version of the Hudson River from New York City to Albany. I am glazing one example from each brickyard with a watery blue hue and then re-firing the bricks in a modern kiln. Each blue brick will be put in the geographic location along the sculpted river where the brickyard existed. The first iteration of the installation will be exhibited along the Hudson River in Newburgh this fall and I am working on realizing it as a massive permanent public artwork in a brick-rich area along the Hudson.

After two decades of living in the East Village and Brooklyn, I followed these bricks back to their source along the Hudson and relocated to an Arts & Crafts home in Poughkeepsie, NY that I share with my photographer husband and young daughter Magnolia. Symbolic objects, flora and the spaces of my own and neighbors' dwellings populate my current “Domestic Bliss” series, in addition to imagery from past travels. I work in the style of many Hudson River School artists who created composite paintings based on sketches from several days and locations distilled into a single image. Most recently, I am making site-specific paintings in people's homes and then making drawings and oil paintings depicting the altered spaces.