About the Artist
Julia Pinkham has been self-employed as an artist since 1979. Her work has been strongly influenced by her fascination with the natural world and organic forms. Her current series of gestural abstract paintings, done with mixed media and acrylic on both canvas and paper, reflect her ongoing interest in both the Surrealist’s “automatic painting” and the Abstract Expressionist movements in American art.
RECENT SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2015 “Kinetic Lines” The Blackboard Gallery, Camarillo CA 93010
2015 “The Planets Project” for the New West Symphony; a performance combining painting with music in Holtz’s symphony of “The Planets”
2014 The Carnegie Art Museum 424 South “C” Street, Oxnard, CA 93930
“The Painted Line, Work on Canvas and Paper” September 7th- November 23rd, 2014
Artamo Gallery, 11 W. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA
2015 “Flight Plan”, paintings in acrylic and mixed media on canvas and paper
2012 “DConstruction”, paintings in acrylic and mixed media on canvas and paper
2011 “Emergence”, paintings in acrylic and mixed media on canvas and paper
2010 “Inventory”, paintings in acrylic and mixed media
2008 “In Transit”, paintings in acrylic and mixed media
2007 “Sense and Energy”, paintings in acrylic and mixed media
Downtown Center For The Arts, Oxnard, CA
2008 “Transitions”, paintings in acrylic and mixed media
SCIART, 1 University Drive, Camarillo, CA
2006 “After Images” Paintings in acrylic and mixed media on canvas
The Upstairs Gallery, 545 W. Main Street, Ventura, CA
2005 “A Magical World View” paintings in acrylic and mixed media
SCIART, 1 University Drive, Camarillo, CA
2003 “The Floating World” Paintings in acrylic and mixed media
The Studio Gallery, Channel Islands Harbor, CA
2001 “New Work” An exhibition of paintings in acrylic and mixed media
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2013 “Nautica” Ventura County Maritime Museum, Channel Islands Harbor, CA 1st Place Award
2011 “Tales In Red” Artamo Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2011 “Waterworld” Artamo Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2010 “New Beginnings” Studio Channel Islands Gallery, Camarillo, CA
2009 “Review 4” Artamo Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2009 “Exaltation Of The Insignificants” Terra Galleria, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA
2008 “Los Angeles Art Show” group exhibit of LAAA artists juried by Louis Stern Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA
2007 & 8 “Aurora” Gallery 825, Los Angeles, CA
2007 “Tarfest” Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA curated by Michelle Urton of LACMA
2007 “A Salute To Oxnard” SCIART West, Oxnard, CA curated by Pat Richards
2006-7 “Art Is Eclectic” Ventura County Government Center, Ventura, CA
2006 & 2004 “National Open” Long Beach Arts, Long Beach, CA AWARD: 3rd Place 2-D
2006 SCIART Member Show Camarillo, CA juried by Nathan Laramendy AWARD: President’s Award
2006 “Putting On Airs” SCIART, Camarillo, Ca
2005 SCIART Member’s Show Camarillo, CA AWARD: 2nd PLace 2-D
2005 “On Site At The Gate” Angel’s Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, CA
2004 “Mentor To Many” SCIART, Camarillo, CA juried by Hiroko Yoshimoto
2004 “The Art Of Movement” SCIART, Camarillo, CA AWARD: 3rd PLace, 2-D, juried by Walter Askin
2002 “Collage/Assemblage USA” Gallery 2, Ventura, CA AWARD: Award of Merit
2001 ” Member’s Show” SCIART, Camarillo, CA AWARD: Honorable Mention
1999 & 2000 “A Classics Competition” The Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard, CA
Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard, CA
Cannon Family Trust, Dr. Peter Cannon, Ventura, CA
Los Angeles Art Association 2007- 2011
Artamo Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
Artful Sol Gallery, Vail, CO
Articles and Interviews:
Ventura County Star Interview by Nicolle D’Amore July 2008
Ventura County Star
Santa Barbara Independent articles 2007 & 2008
Santa Barbara News Press Art Review by Joseph Woodard May 2008
Mildred Magazine issue #92 http://www.mildred.co/issue-92/
Society 805 http://society805.com/arts-culture/visual-arts/item/388-artist-opening-julia-pinkham
Art Media Agency http://en.artmediaagency.com/103077/julia-pinkham-at-artmo-gallery/
Interview with Jack Mohr for Carnegie Exhibit 2014
Do you have any personal favorites within your own paintings?
I often do have paintings that I like better than others, but if this happens while the piece is in progress I have to set it aside for a while and get over my attachment to it in order for progress to happen.
In your work I can detect a relationship to Matisse, Miro, Dali, and Roberto Matta.
Are these your influences from the “big art world”? Who is your hero in painting?
Miro and Matta— both because they include abstract imagery (rather than being completely non-representaional) in their work. They helped forward the concept of “biomorphism” which I love. I don’t tend to eliminate all imagery from my paintings in the way of the Abstract Expressionists and Color Field painters. I like to see forms develop as I work that arise from my subconscious. I love all the Surrealists but especially enjoy the more mysterious works of painters like Matta.
Arshille Gorky— again he includes mysterious shapes in his work that evoke feelings, but also for his line work. His drawings are amazing. The way he used continuous line and differing widths is very inspiring.
Helen Frankenthaler— she was one of the first to use the brand new acrylic paints, she needed a paint that would soak in and stain raw canvas without eventually degrading it. I use the “soak-stain” method sometimes, especially when I am warming up and have pieces of un-gessoed canvas left over to play with. I am currently working on a series of larger pieces with this idea as a starting point.
Cy Twombly— he managed to combine several influences from the art world of his time into a whole new language all his own. He took ideas from painters like Jackson Pollock and the abstract expressionists and combined that with graffiti art in a very exciting and thought provoking way.But the main thing I like about his work is that he somehow managed to achieve a feeling of freedom and spontaneity, nothing about his work feel decorative or mannered, it is very much of the moment. I love that.
Arthur Dove— he was an American pioneer in abstract art and his color use and abstract landscapes really opened doors for me when I first started venturing into fine art.
You always use acrylics — often together with pencil, chalk or other mediums — yet I can see that you work mostly on three different materials: canvas, wood panel, or a special paper stretched over panel. What are the advantages or disadvantages of each, why are you choosing a certain material for a certain piece? What is that rather uncommon archival wall paper base? How do you decide on what material you are creating a piece or a series of pieces?
I like to experiment. I buy big rolls of canvas and tack it to my studio walls to paint it un-stretched. Sometimes I paint it on the floor. If the piece doesn’t work I can roll it up and put it in my closet until I am ready to work on it again. Canvas is perfect because I can work on it gessoed or not. It takes pen and pencil and crayon and absorbs ink in interesting ways.
The wood panels are good for scrafitto work and sanding away layers to reveal what is below. And drawing with heavy pressure. I like to sharpen chopsticks and use them in wet paint on panels.
The blank wallpaper base is wonderful in the way it immediately absorbs the paint and keeps the brush strokes fresh. I can’t go back and fuss over the marks I make. It makes it possible to use the acrylics like watercolor, a medium I used to work in a lot.
Having a giant roll of yards and yards of 52” wide heavy weight paper on my wall that I can simply roll up as I go along is very freeing. The only downside is then having to adhere the finished work to a canvas or a panel, it take two people to do this job and a few hours of time. There are many steps involved.
I know that most of the other artists I work with prefer certain sizes for their paintings, e.g. our Michael Moon loves large canvases. He tries small formats but often combines several small ones then into one big. On the other hand, Elana Kundell — some her might know her — usually does wonderful tiny pieces, rarely large (to my regret). From you I have seen pieces from 4″ x 4″ to 74″ x 66″.
How come that you seem to be home in any size of painting?
I don’t really worry about the size of a piece, each rectangle or square no matter what size it is has the potential for an interesting composition to happen. It is just a matter of making some initial marks and letting the ideas unfold. Sometimes I have thought I could do smaller works faster but I haven’t found that to actually be true. Sometimes I spend as much time or more on the little ones. But I enjoy it. The small ones can be peaceful meditations, whereas the bigger ones can be more physically demanding. But all sizes are both fun and challenging in their own ways.
Also, speaking of formats and sizes. Most artist work with such standard formats as e.g. 24″ x 24″, 24″ x 30″, 36″ x 48″ and so on. With your work I see all kinds of odd sizes: numbers like 13″, 17″, 26″, 33″, 37″, 41″ and so on come up. Where does this come from?
Maybe because I can’t stand to waste anything! And I like to paint on everything I can find. When I stretch my canvases I often end up with odd sizes left over. I use these odd pieces as warm ups, but when and if one turns out well, I need to stretch it to see if it is done or not. That is where Tom comes in. Whenever I have an odd sized piece to stretch I give him the measurements, he goes out into the garage and like magic I have the stretcher bars I need.
I am very spoiled that way!
Since I like to paint on un-stretched canvas (and paper) I sometimes end up cropping a piece for the best composition, or going past the bounds I originally set. That is another way the stretchers end up the odd numbers they do. All I have to do is give Tom my list and he gets to work. (He also does all my framing. He mills the wood and planes it and puts each piece together individually. I don’t pay him enough for all the work he does!) If I could clone him I would. Every artist needs a Tom on their team. Of course, they’d have to know how to cook.
A thing many people always wonder about are the titles of works. Some, like our Agustin Castillo, just name them “Abstract 501, 502, 503…”. You always have distinct titles. Where do your titles come from? When you start working with an idea in your head; do they evolve during the process; or do they come to mind when looking at the finished painting?
Titles tend to evolve as I work. Sometimes something will occur as I am working and I will write it down. Part of my process is not knowing consciously where the painting is going, or where it has come from. So, until a piece develops for a while I won’t have a title for it. Titles also change later. Part of the fun of abstraction for me is that new stories can reveal themselves in a painting the longer I live with it. If I was doing totally non-representational work I could see using a numbering system instead, but I like titles that take me back to the place I was when the piece was created.
We spoke about finished paintings — Picasso one said, “A painting is never done until it’s sold.” — but I know that you occasionally alter a painting later on, but rarely completely, destroying the old one and coming up with something absolutely different, e.g. as our Rose Masterpol who does that often to my regret. What are the trigger points for you to decide on changing or altering your paintings later on? Are these predominantly old works or new ones as well?
Paintings tend to evolve, older work often informs the newer. There are times when an idea has progressed a bit and I can see ways to move some of the first pieces further along that I hadn’t realized initially. Also, revisiting older works can put me back into that mode of working, I may remember ideas I’d forgotten about but am still interested in.
But regarding destroying a painting altogether, I do that sometimes. I think that is partly because artists always want to change things, painters especially. It is hard to look at paintings even by other people and not imagine ways you’d change it. And then there is that passion for creating work that isn’t just “Okay” or “Good”. When we put work out there for the world to see we want it to be Great and when that falls short (however subjective that may be) it is natural to go back in and rework or even destroy it in the process. Sometimes it is thru destruction that something new and interesting comes about. It is always a risk!
Artist friend Jacquie Cavish said she likes art that makes her want to paint. I agree with that entirely. Sometimes I want to repaint my own paintings.
I have seen that you often work in series, some times using the same colors and even formats, sometimes switching in style, colors, or formats, but telling a comprehensive story, e.g. when suddenly all kind of chairs and furniture popped up in your paintings, or thinking of the small paintings of the De-Construction series. The “beach series”, as I would call the latest small pieces, looks to me like a diary of your frequent beach walks, just not written down but visualized with brush and paint. Can you give us any insight into this?
My work eventually reveals to me what is going on in my life at the time. What I see and what has an emotional effect on me appears, unplanned. Sometimes a single image or event will spark an entire series, such as with After Images, or The Chairs. Intense images combine with what is on my mind, and end up revealing some aspect of what is going on in my life.
Sometimes it is a situation that I am helplessly immersed in, for instance the D-Construction series— i.e. construction at home, construction next door, construction outside my studio walls. It was a sense that things all around me were coming apart into smaller and smaller pieces and disappearing. I dealt with all of that by becoming very obsessive over those works.
Usually it is a combination of events and images, and materials and techniques, that come together when an entire series emerges.