JULIE S. GRAHAM’S PAINTED CONSTRUCTIONS
by Franklin W. Liu
All categories of art and architecture have a common bond of union as if connected by blood relationship; this familial dialogue completes what nature cannot emulate. Julie S. Graham’s formal journey in art began with painting she is now resolutely drawn to re-examine the rich, textural language of vernacular architecture. She calls her artwork, “Painted Constructions.”
Her mixed-media construction with pigment on different sizes and shapes of cut wood pieces is a lyrical composite. While reaffirming architectural configurations, one plane may be singled out for a sharp angle-cut at the bottom edge, as trompe l’oeil affects perception and the plane appears to rotate on axis.
Graham appreciates the fact that elements of vernacular architecture weather with time. The impact of this seasonal passage is an enduring testimony to human sub-rosa activity past hinged to present. Art and nature are not at variance with one another.
In her Kingston Gallery solo show, approximately 12 works are scheduled for exhibit. These painted-constructions negate the vocabulary of assemblage typically infused with found objects enmeshed in a sundry of materials. Graham’s artworks have a purposeful clarity and simplicity that is a tribute to eminent architect Mies Van Der Rohe’s famous aphorism: “Less is More.” The colors she uses are generally subdued, soft and appealing, an allusion to the range of colors one finds in indigenous, vernacular architecture in concert with the forces of nature.
In a collection of work, Graham meticulously works and reworks each piece without feeling the need to adhere to even her own vocabulary; one rectilinear piece may have the inclusion of a square of frosted glass, and it is unlikely that it would appear again in the rest of the collection. Another piece may have a long wire rising up from painted woodblocks adding fluidity; the appealing contrast of fluidity versus rigidity is a central concept, yet she is not held prisoner by her own language as she eschews haphazard repetition.