The tragedy that changed everything for artist Julia Gutman

This interview with artist Julia Gutman was published in November 2020 as the artist was preparing for an exhibition at Artspace in Woolloomooloo, Sydney.

Twelve months ago, Julia Gutman was living in New York, making sculptures from found textiles and objects, and in 2018 finished her studies at the Rhode Island School of Design.

“I’m thinking about the political significance of these sculptures, and [their materials] Representation on a global scale,” she said, “like who made them, where they were made, says gender, says class. “

Then, a close friend with whom Gutman shared a studio died in a bicycle accident. “It was one of those crazy moments in…life when everything changed. I ended up moving back home [to Australia] And… readjusting the way I think about life. Relationships are everything and people are everything. “

Julia Gutman with her work on this year's fellowship.

Julia Gutman with her work on this year’s fellowship.Credit: Renee Novitag

This variation extended to Gutman’s artistic practice. “I was collecting all this material in the studio to represent one thing, and all of a sudden it felt like it had something to do with our friendship, and it had something to do with her. It changed the way I started thinking about the material.”

The Sydney-based artist started asking friends for old clothes, which she used in her embroidered textile works No one told me shadows can be so brightGutman vs. The 2020 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship exhibition is currently on display at Artspace Visual Arts Center in Woolloomooloo.

While Gutman finds himself creating imagery of friends wearing clothes, “it’s not so much about describing these relationships specifically as it is about … the fragments we have in each other and how we’re made up of everyone we meet.” of. “

Gutman was unable to access her studio space at Waverley Council for six months during the lockdown, so each detailed portrait was made on a sewing machine in her bedroom and later incorporated into the larger exhibition on display. in works. “I love it lol: I love ‘lots of labour,'” she said, explaining that the characters in the work are carefully crafted over time, unlike the bolder pieces that can come together in the evening’s production The collage elements are in stark contrast.

Gutman is now one of eight finalists in the running for the scholarship. With a history of more than 100 years, the scholarship is one of the oldest traveling arts scholarships in the United States. Each year, a judging panel convened by Create NSW selects the finalists from a highly competitive round of proposals. A $30,000 award allows emerging artists to undertake a self-directed professional development program.

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