"Julie’s paintings spark one of my favourite feelings — wonder."
- Matt Galloway (Host, The Current/CBC)
"These paintings promise a better summer."
- Dave Bidini (author/founder of West End Phoenix/musician/Rheostatics)
"Fader’s paintings make me feel excited for new paths. They are bold invitations to unknown possibilities."
- Sarah Harmer (songwriter/environmentalist/gardener)
"Julie’s work is similar to her as a person. Unpretentious and inviting. Her ability to balance process, meticulous brush strokes and calming flow is remarkable. What appears to be an exercise in calculated patience manifests as something far from rigid or clinical. It soothes the viewer as the current of colors and shapes create new patterns and forms with every look. It’s what every artist strives for; communication without bludgeoning.
Her latest work continues to unabashedly revel in process, honing her signature style and her honest approach, but takes it a step further and creates new visual landscapes that come alive with this evolved application of brush work and choice of colors that define harmonious contrast, clash and once again, communicate."
- Hayden Menzies (painter/illustrator/drummer/METZ)
"Julie’s paintings remind me of the landscapes I visit in my dreams. Like watching summer skies explode."
- Greg Keelor (singer/songwriter/musician/Blue Rodeo)
"Julie's art makes me feel focused yet free at the same time. There is a reassurance in Julie's art like there is in her. Knowing her care and dedication to her craft is proof that creating inhabits many rooms of oneself — free to be different and filled with palettes of exploration / hues of discovery, skills sharpened and shapes refined. Her art is the reflection of completion, the challenge of introspection, the beauty of observation, and the prompt of new creation. "
- Mary O’Connell (artist/radio host//Director Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada)
"Julie’s new paintings are springtime embodied, a crystalline world full of warm and vibrant colour!"
- Terra Lightfoot (songwriter/singer/musician)
"Julie’s paintings communicate in a language that is spoken through backward calligraphy and the hieroglyphs of future dreamscapes. Colours and shapes present as a floating universe, broken and fragmented, but assuring us that everything remains beautiful and harmonious within these fractures."
- Melissa McClelland (songwriter/musician/Whitehorse/Sarah McLachlan)
Lyceum Student Interviews
After spending the morning sketching in the gallery, Lyceum students had some questions for Julie about her work.
I know you listen to and write a lot of music when painting. Does the music you hear influence your artwork? – Paloma
JF: I listen to so many things while I paint, Music, podcasts, films, sometimes comedy, sometimes entire dramatic series/shows, especially if it has interesting dialogue. Sometimes I will listen to songs I am working on, or songs that I have to learn for something. I am sure the music or storylines or feelings infiltrate my work somehow, but I'm not entirely sure how.
I know you suffered a head injury last January. Before then, your paintings were in the pointillism style and now you paint abstract colour fields. Was this change a result of your injury and if so why do you think? – Julian
JF: Well I had been experimenting with a departure from pointillism before my injury. Wanting to move from the meticulous feeling of almost embroidery in my painting. After my injury I had to avoid any bright light, all screens, reading, writing, and I stayed away from painting for many weeks.When I tentatively went back in the art studio I suppose I wanted a larger, free direction while still maintaining precision. Less strain on my vision, trying an open new path which I am still on.
When I look at your art, I‘ve noticed that you have a very clean and precise lines. Do you use masking tape to make your shapes or do you make each one freehand individually? – Lily
JF: Great question, and I'm very flattered. NO TAPE! Yes they are all individual and freehand. I am sure I would save myself countless hours if I decided to embrace tape, but I don't think it's for me.
Do you see any animals in any of your paintings? I see them in three different paintings. In Scope, I can see a red fox/lemur/centipede. In Cerebellum, I see a red fox head and in Circle in the Sun I see a two-headed rhino T-Rex. Do you observe any forms in your works? – Simon
JF: I love that you see all of those things! I can honestly say that I haven't seen any of those images. I do not intentionally hide any images in my work, but occasionally will see certain forms in them. My daughter Frances loves telling me all of the things that she perceives in my work.
I was wondering if the shapes in your paintings are supposed to form an image or a landscape? Maybe I am seeing what is not intentional? – Lucian
JF: I consider my work to be sincerely abstract in the sense of there being no "real" images or forms. None of my work is pre-planned, not even in my head. I would say the most planning I do is painting the background colour.
Your paintings are very abstract and some of the painting names would not be my first guess such as Circle in the Sun. How do you pick the name? Is it already chosen before you start or at another time? – James
JF: The names are something I come up with when the painting appears to be completed. I go with more of an intuitive feeling with naming because I have always had a fascination with interesting and evocative words. Being a lifelong avid reader, writing in journals, and writing lyrics has probably influenced my painting titles. 'Circle in the Sun' was just something I just kept thinking of when pondering a name for the piece.
Why do your paintings look like rock sculptures? Do you drawn them from real life? – Felix
JF: I like that you have the perception of that, while it's certainly not intentional. My pointillism work always went in a steady free-form path, and these shapes and images appear to do something similarly but in a very different style. None of my work is realist.
I have noticed that your paintings have similar shapes in them. Do you try to use the same shapes in all of your work? – Koan
JF: I am sure you are correct with this observation. Once again, embracing randomness but also with the back of my mindset, embracing a new direction. Maybe some of that sameness is the work all being closely related to each other, all finding each other, while I am finding it.
Where do you draw inspiration for your colour palette? – Mia
JF: A lifelong fascination with colour. Clothing, grass, spices, the sky. Gas in a puddle, rocks. Going to the art store and purchasing paints, and combining and blending colours is my favourite. I love looking at other works of art. I'm sure inspiration is always sinking in from all directions. I use the blank canvas with a painted background to inspire whatever colour choices I'm feeling.
I noticed you made four very small paintings. Other than the fact that it would take more work, is there a reason you didn’t make them big? – Arlo
JF: I spent the fall and early winter completely focused on a whole series of tiny, time consuming paintings. When I analyse why I would spend countless hours on these every day for weeks, I wondered if it was me coping with pandemic anxiety, maintaining creativity, needing that focus. Showing my larger work at the Lyceum has inspired me to begin preparing to work on an entire series of large pieces once again.
I find that many of your pieces involve images of alien landscapes and foreign worlds. Is there a connection to abstract landscape painters of the past like those of, for example, Paul Klee? – Violet
JF: I LOVE this question. I would imagine I have plenty of influences and creativity rolling around my brain that I am unaware of. I have always loved what I know of Paul Klee's work. Your question flashed a beautiful memory back to me that I had honestly completely forgotten about. I just spent 20 minutes scrolling through images of his work remembering when I was in highschool, I hand painted a Paul Klee painting called 'Death and Fire' on the back pocket of a pair of Levi's Jeans! Ha! I loved that so much. I am thrilled about the idea of an alien landscape and a foreign world being something that you might see and feel. It makes me very excited and inspired to continue painting.
Why did you choose A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall to translate to your scarf in the Sovereign/ties show? – Alistair
JF: Well I chose this piece to become a silk scarf for that show, because I wanted to consider which piece seemed to me most vibrant and wearable at the time. It's a keen observation that you mistakenly call it 'A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall', because the title of my painting is actually 'A HARD RAIN'. Using the contrasts of the bright pinks and yellows and greens on a deep black background. the larger softly edged shapes were kind of surprising me. Almost seeming a bit psychedelic. It kept evoking this similar feeling for me of a famous iconic Bob Dylan poster of his side profile, with boldly coloured swirling multi coloured hair (by artist Milton Glaser). Anyway my title was a bit of an ode to that poster and the feeling it gave me.
Last November, Julie was part of the Sovereign/ties group show in the Lyceum Gallery. The painting A Hard Rain, which is part of the Cerebellum series, was printed on 100% Habotai silk. A limited issue of this scarf can be purchased in the gallery or in the online shop.
Here is her artist statement:
Adorning a scarf is like wrapping myself in comforting memories that make me feel held. Always loving, wearing and coveting my mother’s silk scarves as a young child, I watch my daughter repeating the circle now with my own.
I sat down with two scarves to write this.
One gifted from talented throat singer — Riit, who came to our home to make a record with my husband, having traveled to Toronto from her home in Pangnirtung, Nunavut. When meeting me, as a special gift and gesture, she gave me a gorgeous scarf with an image The Enchanted Owl by Nunavut artist Kenojuak Ashevak.
The other scarf was received when meeting Michiru, my long time childhood pen-pal from Kyoto, Japan for the first (and only) time. She visited Toronto as a grown up, and brought me the gift of a beautiful, elegant scarf from her home in Japan.
I cherish, appreciate, and wear these scarves to this day. To me they are a protection, an accessory, a force field, a gesture, a message of individuality, a meaningful gift.
"Like a melody, Julie’s paintings weave into you while telling stories. With colour organized yet perfectly chaotic, they sing off of the canvas into the room, making what surrounds us, all the more beautiful."
– Amy Millan (singer/songwriter/STARS/Broken Social Scene)