River Variations

a duo show with Julie Gladstone and Vanessa McKernan

Opens at Wall Space Gallery May 27 - June 19 2021


VIRTUAL OPENING RECEPTION Thursday May 27, 2021 7pm 

REGISTER HERE: https://www.wallspacegallery.ca/river-variations-by-vanessa-mckernan-julie-gladstone

Art Gallery of Peterborough
Nov 26 2020- May 4 2021
more info here

Juried by  Sonya Jones (Curator of Collections at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery), Dyan Marie (practicing artist and a founder of C-Magazine, Cold City Gallery, DIG IN, Walk Here, Dupont Projects, BIG: Bloor Improvement Group, and the BIG On Bloor Festival), and Clayton Windatt (a Métis non–binary multi-artist currently Executive Director of the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference/La Conférence des collectifs et des centres d’artistes autogérés)

Invisibility Cloak with Poppies and Magpie Feathers
oil on canvas,  48" x 48"
$5000 (inquire)

This moment, complex and layered, merits a complicated response. Gathered here are works bringing forward themes of transition, anxiety, frustration, comfort, boredom, resistance, vulnerability, urgency, and resilience. Expressed through painting, needlework and textile, installation, film and video, photography, pottery, image transfer, drawing, text, collage, printmaking, assemblage performance, and sculpture, a conversation between artists who may never meet face-to-face hums and ticks in aggregate.

ad90fcb9-f51e-487d-8cb4-2b76ca3ec473.jpgInstallation view of Presently at the Art Gallery of Peterborough

John. B Aird Gallery 

Juried by Niki Drakos of Hardware Contemporary 
Curated by Erin Storus 
online art publication

I'm thrilled to have two paintings included in the online Painting 2020 exhibition and publication at John. B Aird Gallery curated by emerging curator Erin Storus and Juried by Niki Dracos, the principal director of General Hardware Contemporary, Painting 2020 is John B. Aird’s annual showcase of paintings by contemporary Canadian artists. For this exhibition, a painting is defined as a work of art made from paint applied to canvas, wood, paper, or other platforms. This broad definition is intended to open the exhibition to entries reflecting a wide variety of contemporary and modern painting techniques and practices.


Prayer Shawl with Butterflies, Wildflowers and Amulets
oil on panel, 48" x 36" 2019

Hommage to Ventura Lirios (Homeland) 
48" x 48", oil on canvas, 2019

I'm thrilled to have work included in the virtual Artist/Mother Podcast Juried exhibition curated by Qiana Mestrich:


You are not Wonderful Just Because you are a Mother.  


runs until February 14th, 2021


Lifeline Artist Statment:

 My grandmother and great grandmother from the old country were master knitters, lacemakers and embroiderers, practices that had been passed down through the generations spanning hundreds of years in the Sephardic diaspora but which had been interrupted when my mother moved to Canada from Israel where she gave birth to me.


I began the lifeline garment while I was 8 months pregnant, doing my MFA and on the precipice of becoming a mother.  The blue shawl was modelled after a shawl that was knit by my grandmother Clara, that I used to put on as a child whenever i was feeling unwell, as it had the magical healing abilities to make you feel better.  I was seeking to create a healing ritual/ ceremony for myself that would help me to build connections, on the one hand to some kind of spiritual lineage, and on the other hand to the land/ place where I live as a settler/ descendent of immigrants.  


The performance that I created with this garment is modeled after an orthodox Jewish religious ritual act traditionally performed exclusively by men called "wrapping the Tefflin"  you can watch You Tube videos of the ritual being performed, but essentially in the ritual,  the religious men, wrap leather bands attached to amulets around their arms and head as a way of connecting with God.  In my performance, the aim is to connect with the earth, and the life giving properties of the Humber River and Lake Ontario, the two major bodies of water in my city of Toronto, which were just a stone's throw away from the hospital where my daughter was born.  I'd been hoping to give birth at an indigenous birthing centre, which is where I saw a painting depicting the Indigenous view of the birthing and nursing process as connected to the life waters of rivers and lakes.  Due to complications I wasn't able to give birth at the birthing centre, but had to have c-section surgery.  


I wrote and recorded the accompanying audio track on keyboard, and collaborated with my friend and musician Mark Andrade to create an ambient, trance inducing soundtrack to the ceremony.  The decision to incorporate sound, was inspired by family narratives of my great-grandmother Julia who used to sing Ladino (ancient Spanish) love songs on the porch while she would knit.  


The performance of lifeline, is my creation of a contemporary ceremony that is meant to function as a rite of passage/ preparation for a new way of life after becoming a mother, in which my studio time and my creative time would be cut into, and evolve into new more cyclical repetitive acts which require giving of myself and my time,  emotionally and physically.   


Life Line performance video

I'm thrilled to be a guest on AOWTV! 



8pm with Toronto Goth Rock band Ace of Wands

on Instagram Live.  Follow Ace of Wands on Instagram: @aceofwandsband



We will talk about exploring ancestry, humanity and how artistic practice flows with spiritual expression.
Julie Gladstone is an interdisciplinary artist from Toronto, working with paint, textiles, sculpture and photography. Here are some words from Julie on her painting work (website link in bio for more!):

I see my paintings as metaphysical landscapes that explore the interaction between human beings, the five elements, outerspace, the dream world, meditative states, the urban environment, nature and water in all of it’s forms. I’m an abstract painter because abstraction allows me to explore the invisible realm and to show connections that are otherwise unquantifiable or unempirical.


The Moss Men of Bejar

There is a local legend in Béjar dating back to the 12th century during the reign of King Alfonso VIII of Castile in which local men are said to have camouflaged themselves in moss gathered from the local forests so as to hide their approach to the gates of a Muslim fortress. So the legend goes,  under the cover of darkness they waited for the drawbridge to open and then ambushed the guards before taking the town.  The guards are said to have retreated in terror after seeing the appearance of the moss-men who they believed were monsters. To this day,  there is an annual Corpus Cristi parade in Béjar in which the local townspeople cover themselves in moss and march through the streets of Béjar. 


The Moss man parade takes place every June during the Corpus Cristi parade.  The locals are said to through flower petals on the Moss men and women as they walk past.  I will be in Béjar this June during the parade and I'm hoping to be a participant! The parade takes place during my residency and exhibition Re/Inquisition: Return to the Fortress at El Casino Obrero/ Museo Judio David Melul in Béjar Spain. 

 Hopefully by the end of June I will have my own photos of me covered from head to toe in Moss, walking through the streets of my ancestral village.  In the meantime,  I have begun a series of Moss Woman portraits. 


Moss Woman

20" x 16"

oil on panel



(please contact artist to inquire about purchase) 


This self portrait from my Aura Portrait series,  explores feelings of vulnerability in returning to a land where my ancestors experienced persecution and expulsion.  Inspired by the Moss men tradition, I am creating self portraits in which I am protected and camouflaged as I return to Béjar.



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If you are called to support this project please consider donating to my  Gofundme page 



View of Bejar By Ventura Lirios


was originally commissioned by the Duke of Béjar in the the 18th century.  The original painting is currently located in Seville in the Duke's permanent collection.  Painted by emigrated Italian painter Ventura Lirios,  there are many reproductions of this painting found all over Béjar.  The painting contains a details aerial view of the town and numbered legend of important landmarks such as the Duccal palace and the Moorish fortress walls, as well as a reference to the legend of the Moss Men of Béjar. 

View of Béjar,  By Ventura Lirios

Detail of View of Béjar

Detail of View of Béjar


As I prepare for my solo exhibition at El Obrero Casino Ateneo Cultural produced by the Museo Judio David Melul of Béjar,  I have been studying this painting through google images and have been re-interpretating the landscape through my own neo-expressionist abstract lens.  


Original painting by Julie Gladstone 

Hommage to Ventura Lirios (View of Béjar)

48" x 48"  

oil on canvas




(please contact artist to inquire about purchase) 

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If you are called to support this project please consider donating to my  Gofundme page 



This summer I have the opportunity to visit Béjar, the medieval village in the mountainous region of Castille y Leon in Spain where my Sephardic Jewish ancestors lived 500 years ago before being expelled during the Spanish Inquisition in 1492.  

During a 6 week residency, I will be living in Béjar,  painting and preparing for my first International solo exhibition 'Re/Inquisition: Return to the Fortress' produced with the support of the Museo Judio David Melul at El Casino Obrero Ateneo Cultural. 

The work that I make during my residency will explore themes related to land and the meaning of home following a history of displacement and diaspora,  as well as themes related to cultural borders, contemplative practice, healing and reconciliation through re-connection to land. 

Following it's presentation in Spain, Re/Inquisition: Return to the Fortress will be presented as a 3-month solo exhibition at Museum of Jewish Montreal in January 2020 as part of their contemporary arts programming series Inside/Out(Dedans/Dehors)  

During my residency I will  engage with the environment and walk along the same ancient fortress walls and roads as my ancestors. I will be creating a series of paintings as well as gathering research and samples of rocks and minerals to create my own pigments.  and producing a short film documenting my experience of re-inquisition into my ancestral homeland.  

I have created a Gofundme page! 


By supporting this project you will be assisting me with some of the high costs associated with exhibiting Internationally including shipping fees, travel costs, insurance and purchasing art materials.  All  funds will also go towards the development of this very meaningful body of work for exhibition in Spain  at the Museum of Jewish Montreal. 

My residency and exhibition in Spain will take place over the months of May and June 2019. I have applied for funding from the Canada Arts Council, however the grant results will not be delivered until July.  For this reason,  I am extremely grateful for any and all support of this project that I receive leading up to my departure in May. 

To follow along on my journey,  I will share stories, videos and photos about my residency, history about the town and exhibition info on this blog.  


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Art of Julie Gladstone 


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