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Julie Oakes: Awestruck

SMASH Gallery of Modern Art
Vancouver BC – Nov 2–Dec 30, 2012

Hector Acebes, Unidentified Man, Central Africa

Julie Oakes, Wallflower (2011), oil on linen [SMASH Gallery of Modern Art, Vancouver BC, Nov 2-Dec 30]

Julie Oakes, Blue Topaz Rising (2011)

Julie Oakes, Blue Topaz Rising (2011), oil on linen [SMASH Gallery of Modern Art, Vancouver BC, Nov 2-Dec 30]

Julie Oakes’ porcelain, earthenware, bronze and glass works were first introduced during her solo exhibition, Swounds: An installation in Glass at the Canadian Clay and Glass Museum in Ontario (2011). For Awestruck, SMASH is hosting a new installation of porcelain birds along with porcelain harpies and a series of bunny portraits. Many of the pieces were inspired by flora and fauna – from barnyard animals to more exotic specimens – familiar to her Okanagan home in Vernon, BC.

The impact of Oakes’s work can often be unsettling. The Awestruck series seeks to blend painting and sculpture into an examination of theology, nature and the human experience. A feature piece in Awestruck, ON at the Lonsdale Gallery, Toronto (2012) was an enormous canvas depicting an ark, with sculptures of the severed feet of various animals leading up to it.

Oakes’s paintings typically have a fantasy element which, in different bodies of work, have been more or less religious, spiritual, sexual or phantasmagorical. Her recent paintings use heightened hues, decoy foliage and staged backgrounds to achieve an otherworldly appearance.

Julie Oakes has an MA in Cultural Theory from New School University, New York as well as a Masters in Art and Art Professions. She has also studied computer graphics, Chinese language and Tibetan thangka painting.


Mia Johnson

 Fri, Nov 2, 2012