Interview: Julanne Barry
Luca Curci talks with Julanne Barry during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2021 and VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2021 at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
I am a deeply spiritual person with a cluttered and kaleidoscopic background of religion, socialism and family history. My art explores many themes of female self-expression as well as reverence for the natural world. My mind is ever-curious, ever-delighted by observations and inspirations around me. My background in fine art and woven textile design leads me to experiment freely with media – textures and surfaces excite me as much as colors and lines. In creating, my objective is always to capture my own journey and emotions in the hope that someone may find solidarity and comfort in sharing it, and perhaps exploring their own experiences through art.
Luca Curci – Which subject are you working on?
Julanne Barry – My work always has a traceable thread from one piece to another, which means that subject matter evolves gradually across many pieces. I am currently working on a continuation of the themes seen in my “The Body Language” exhibit pieces; women’s place in society, my place in my family and humans’ place in life on Earth. I am developing these themes through the imagery of skulls as an allegory for life & death – and will weave the concept of growth and renewal through the piece. The canvas is 2,5m x 10m – so it’s pretty big!
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
JB – I have always enjoyed painting, and originally trained in woven textile design – although I have always kept my drawing and painting skills sharp with training courses. All of my work incorporates varying degrees of ‘additional items’ – sometimes this might be just modifying the surface of the piece, but often my work has a three-dimensional aspect to it that comes from physical objects and structural media. I have been experimenting recently with light (like my neon work “Bleeding Heart 2” in the exhibition) but I also see a parallel evolution of my work to progressively larger scales – I think the challenge of scale is irresistible, but I am outgrowing my studio space!
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
JB – All of my work is based around a few consistent themes, which relate back to exploring my place in the world; as a woman, as an artist and as a member of society. This often leads me to use religious imagery as a vehicle to explore and express these themes – so I think my favorite subjects are usually linked to the human body, and stylistically I love the changing conventions of the way humans have expressed reverence through history.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
JB – Like many artists, building a disciplined practice of working hours is difficult for me – so I tend to work in intense periods of time. This is difficult to plan and manage so it can be tough to fit other things around it (life has to feature somewhere – but it takes a back seat when I’m creating!).
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
JB – There are more opportunities for exposure now than there have ever been before – but with that comes a different set of challenges; artists need digital skillsets – or a professional social media manager working for them! Digital media itself offers a whole extra dimension to our work, which of course has become crucial during the last year or so – as many nations have closed art galleries and even art suppliers have had to close their shops. The restrictions resulting from the current pandemic have made art a rather insular and lonely practice but I see a lot of excitement in the artist community in anticipation of the relaxing of lockdown measures around the world.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? How did it inspire you?
JB – Body Language is an integral mode of communication for humans, so the possibilities for exploring this theme were very exciting to me; I felt that there is a direct connection here to a lot of my recent body of work – so I felt this was a great opportunity to push myself. I was also super-enthused to see other artists’ work around this theme – as I always feel inspired by
other people’s work.
LC – Can you explain something about the work you showed in our exhibition?
JB – My work in “The Body Language” exhibition is a series of three pieces that explores the impact of religion on society in general, the influence that religion (particularly Christianity) has played in defining women’s role – and the resulting patriarchal society that women now have to navigate. There is a coherent stylistic theme of using religious iconography to force the viewer to consider the place that women now find themselves in 21st Century life.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
JB – The team at ITSLIQUID has been very well-organized and super-helpful, providing guidance and support throughout the planning of the exhibition. This was particularly appreciated in January and February as the lockdowns throughout Europe made me anxious about the exhibition. I’m so happy that it was able to go ahead – and all of our work can be viewed in person by visitors.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
JB – Absolutely! As an artist, it is so important to have networks of professionals to collaborate with – sometimes this is simply to bounce ideas off other people, but other times, artists need a competent and established body of professionals to work with. ITSLIQUID provides that!
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
JB – ITSLIQUID already provides a very professional and supportive service to artists – so while there may be no need to ‘add’ to those services, ITSLIQUID could perhaps be more widely marketed, driving greater membership and ultimately more exposure for artists. It would be great to see ITSLIQUID as a world-leading acknowledged authority in the art world!