Julie Goldstein

Artist Statement

As a visual artist and printmaker, I create works that document the people, memories, activities, interests and surroundings from my personal life. My practice is closely linked to the natural environment from my recently found home in Southern California, my childhood memories from growing up on the beach in Long Beach Island, New Jersey, as well as the experience of having lived and worked in New York City for many
years. Distinct contrasts in settings, relationships, colors, and material textures all find their way into my work and my production methods.

The most revealing aspect of this approach is the central role that printmaking plays in my practice. The entire process—from conception to carving an image to inking and “spooning” a print—is intrinsically woven into my life as an artist. I carry small blocks of pine and poplar with me wherever I travel—these serve as drawing surfaces on which to quickly record the changing environment around me. I relish the tactile process of incising and carving the image into the wooden surface, which is a wonderfully portable

The images I choose to record also come from lived experience: for example, my time spent in the sea; surfing and body surfing as well as vivid memories of living in New York City, the urban landscape and the faces of friends and family (whether from memory or photographs). I practice a physically intensive form of woodblock printmaking closely related to ancient Japanese techniques. I load my woodcuts with oil-based
inks and use a wooden spoon to hand burnish the print substrate over the plate. My prints are made on rice or heavy cotton rag papers and produced in editions of three. Currently, I am working in a large format, using 4-x-6 ft. sheets of plywood to produce portraits and other images.

The intense, even masculine physicality of my process—jigsaws, carving tools, plywood, etc.—bears an important content relationship to my artwork. I enjoy exploring the masculine/feminine (sharp/soft) contrasts in content and process that are evident in my work, and I accentuate their interplay. Recently, I’ve been working with thrift-store and found vintage fabrics as substrates for printing and embroidery, further emphasizing the juxtaposition of gender- based categories, such as “women’s work.” Far from antagonistic, this new body of work is an ironic but playful form of devotion honoring the beautifully stitched handwork of my mother and grandmother.

Other influences are firmly rooted in the history of the printed image. German Expressionist printmakers and illustrators of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century are most prominent, specifically their approach to rendering the figure with forced perspective and variable proportions. Likewise, the dynamic revival in postwar printmaking initiated by Antonio Frasconi has influenced my affinity for bold images, vibrant colors, and the marked evidence of process and the hand (i.e., variations in printing, strongly grained wooden plates, and spoon marks).

Lastly, my sensitivity to the subtle variations of color in nature and the built environment greatly influences my choices as an artist, from the sea blues and greens of ink to creating assemblage works with fabric and paper. Fundamentally, the qualities of the surfaces of my work are as important to me as the content of the images— both are derived from my life.

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Bridgette Mayer Gallery   709 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106   tel 215 413 8893   fax 215 413 2283   bmayer@bmayerart.com   Site by exhibit-E™