Inspired by the masters, Julie Davidson has been exhibiting her cinematic artworks across the country since the early ‘90s. The Melbourne-based painter has been a finalist in the Eutick Still Life Award, runner up in the Warwick Regional Gallery Art Prize and finalist in Mandoorla Art Prize, to name but a few of her career accolades.
Recently, Julie has been focusing on her new collection of oil-on-linen paintings, ‘Ways of Seeing’, currently on exhibit at Flinders Lane Gallery in Melbourne. This body of work is an investigation of light, whereby Julie experiments with both direct and diffused light to define her compositions, casting flowers and other everyday objects in a captivating fashion.
Through her ‘interior landscapes’, the artist explores the concept of impermanence, as it is enshrined in Eastern philosophies. The well-travelled creative recently took some time out from her show to tell us more…
How did you come to pursue a career in art?
After school, I studied nursing in a time when you many nurses were required to live in, at the hospital. I set up an easel at the nurses’ home, and continued to develop my love of painting.
From nursing, I went to art college and had the privilege of being mentored by John Olsen, Roger Kemp, Jeffrey Makin and others. Next stop was London for 12 months and exposure to the wealth of European art history.
Can you tell us about the concept behind your latest exhibition, on now at Flinders Lane Gallery in Melbourne?
‘Ways of Seeing’ encompasses a number of ideas, all arrived at through stored memories gained through a number of overseas gallery crawls.
Preceding an exhibition my studio becomes a huge pin board, a random collection of inspirational images from past and present, and from Eastern and Western traditions, helping me to develop my own personal aesthetic. In this current show, I have produced 21 paintings over the past 12 months.
How does ‘Ways of Seeing’ compare to your past exhibitions?
I started preparing exhibitions when I had young children, painting from a corner of the kitchen, using what was on hand – ordinary, everyday objects. I have continued this love of depicting the simple, unnoticed moments, often highlighted by beautiful natural light on the days the sun comes streaming in through the windows.
Essentially this body of work reflects a continuation of the central concept in my still life paintings, which is a depiction of the ‘nobility of the ordinary’. My aim is to continue to look for different ways of expressing the beauty and dignity of ‘small things’.
What have you most enjoyed about this exhibition so far?
I love being able to set my paintings free from the constraints of a small studio; they lie silent, piled up against walls until exhibition time. When hung in the gallery, they start to create a dialogue and, hopefully, produce a kind of visual poetry.
Can you tell us about your home studio?
I have a smallish studio, set in our Melbourne suburban backyard, surrounded by a lovely lush garden. I practice techniques employed by the Old Masters but also experiment with creating abstracted areas of transparent layers, often cutting back into these with solvent which gives an impression of age and disintegration.
What’s next for Julie Davidson?
This coming year promises to be another busy one despite plans for a sabbatical. I will have another exhibition in Perth at Linton and Kay Galleries and perhaps a show at Harvey Galleries, Sydney. I would also love to attend some international art fairs and even enrol in a portrait workshop we discovered on a recent trip to Brugge.
‘Ways of Seeing’ by Julie Davidson
November 14th to December 2nd
Flinders Lane Gallery
137 Flinders Lane, Melbourne