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Julie Curtiss

(French, b.1982)

Julie Curtis was born in Paris in 1982, Julie Curtiss received her BA and MFA from l’École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Curtiss spent a year studying art in Dresden in 2004 as part of her BA before living in Japan and America. In 2005, Curtiss enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, which the artist cites as a turning point in her perception of the world. She describes the sense of freedom she felt during her first time in America and drew inspiration from Chicago’s thriving scene of artistic culture and subculture.

The Chicago Imagists group which emerged from the Art Institute of Chicago had a significant impact on Julie Curtiss’ approach, particularly in their references to cartoons and popular culture. Her work is comparable with Pop aesthetics in its combination of comic book-like features, which developed further while she was living in Tokyo, Japan, in 2006. The artist’s graphic, stylised forms and bold planes of colour recall characteristics of Japanese manga and traditions in illustration. Through this stylisation, Curtiss’ imagery often expresses the surreal, with dream-like, grotesque undertones – qualities which are also present in the Chicago Imagists’ work. Curtiss studied Jungian psychoanalysis in art and is interested in the power of images in conveying complex ideas within the human psyche.

Typically, Julie Curtiss’ subject matter encompasses topics of everyday life and femininity. Her paintings explore gender stereotypes, often showing fragmented depictions of  heads with immaculately styled hair and hands or feet with long painted nails. Food is another reoccurring motif in her work, which reflects the artist’s memories of her Vietnamese father’s cooking and the important role it played throughout her childhood. Curtiss credits her father with instilling a deep and complex love of food in her. These motifs are deconstructed and shown through cropped perspectives in her paintings. The artist creates intense focus on small details of everyday life, critiquing the stereotypes they connote with dry humour.

Julie Curtiss currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

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