Julia Schwartz

Bad Company 2020,
Unstretched canvas, newspaper, photograph transfers, acrylic, gouache, paint marker,
60 x 72 inches; with flowers 2015 concrete and rebar, various dimensions.

Although I’ve had access to my regular studio and could have continued work on a series of paintings in process, somehow that work no longer seemed relevant. Instead I’ve found myself once again returning to working in books which I’ve done for the past 5 years. In this period of isolation and quarantine, I began making collages with repurposed materials- newspapers and everyday papers, glue and gouache, very no-tech and quiet work, Glue paper, and paint. A return to simple materials which reflects a need to simplify things in these strange times. The work on view here is an expansion onto a broader canvas, but the idea is the same. I started adding daily updates from LA County Public Health website, with dates, new cases and deaths from Covid-19.

Artist Statement
I have always liked Keats’ idea of “negative capability;” this is quite compatible with being essentially self-taught, although my colleagues remind me that all of us are always learning on the job. Still, without benefit or burden of formal “technique” in art-making, I am comfortable with doubt, uncertainty, the freedom to explore materials and methods, and an infinite freedom to fail. Materially I appreciate the sublime- oil paint on canvas or linen- and the humble- gouache on book pages and trading cards, sharpie on cardboard and envelopes.
Art depicts my situation- the geographic, the emotional, the existential, the state of the world- and how I make sense of it. That means trying to make sense of the senselessness of the everyday world and its outsized ‘seismic disasters’ including personal loss and grief, profound political and cultural fragmentation, and most recently the absolute crumbling of the world as we have known it and the traumatic reverberations that are to come.

Julia Schwartz is an artist working in Santa Monica. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including a solo installation “tenderly cradled and lavishly flung” at Visitor Welcome Center in 2018 and recent work with the Binder of Women, including a limited edition print release at The Pit and upcoming group shows. Curatorial projects include “States of Being” at the Torrance Art Museum (2015) and “Black Mirror” at Charlie James Gallery (2017). Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including New American Paintings, Two Coats of Paint, Huffington Post, and The New York Times.