JULIE E. HARRIS
ARTIST STATEMENT


            My work is largely autobiographical.  I try to make what is intangible--personal experiences, thoughts, feelings, and humor--into something tangible, an artist book, print, or sculptural object.  Technically, I place form against form, object against object, each interacting with the other to create a visual metaphor based on my own experiences.  Each piece begins as a representation of a thought or feeling, and the interweaving of the imagery along with the materials create a visual poetry.  As I look at a series several months after its completion, I rediscover those perceptions that I was trying to understand, and then I recognize the pieces as inductively formed images of personal growth.  My art becomes, when the viewer interprets it, a dialogue of self-searching, discovery, and understanding. 
            In my most recent work, I seek to create images that break the traditional boundaries typically imposed upon an artist medium, to combine photo-intaglio with silkscreen, collage, trace mono-print and relief, printed on handmade paper.  The images go beyond the typical delivery, combining printmaking in a non-traditional presentation.  Images connect elements from my artist books, such as, narrative and texture along with various printmaking techniques.  Through interplay of juxtaposed images and objects, each piece seeks to uncover the essence of my perceptions.  The prints serve as touchstones for letting the viewer into the metaphor as well as providing yet another barrier, to be shattered and then reassessed.  Each similarity suggests the interchange of energy between outside and inside forces on both physical and spiritual levels.  The work focuses on an internal struggle, the need to form connections along with the need for solace.  The materials used--handmade paper, cloth, natural objects--are loaded with their own symbolic meaning.  The paper suggests a skin-like reference, and with that all of the vulnerability and toughness associated with a hide.  Objects are often embedded into the paper prior to printing as a way to add another layer of meaning to the finished work.  Similarly, the clothing pieces relate to skin as well, yet these objects go one step further by specifically identifying roles that I have played in my lifetime.  The process in creating a work represents a change not unlike the trauma of birth.  Frequently, pieces are altered, wounded or pierced in some way before the end product is realized.  This evolution relates to a destruction followed by a renewal, providing a way to heal the present and recover connection.  In this way, the process becomes a metaphor for my own existence. 

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