I am an abstract painter, sculptor and installation artist living and working in Toronto, Canada. My studio is in a 100 year old building in the Annex that used to be a Jewish hospital. The floors are crooked and there are weird rooms that don’t make sense. There are trees outside my window and sometimes cardinals land on the branches while I’m working.
My studio is also a place where I read, write, play and listen to music, meditate and stretch in addition to painting. I begin my creative process by reminding myself that I live on a planet floating in outer space. I’m a visual and emotional sponge and I spend a lot of time walking in my neighbourhood and down by Lake Ontario. I look closely at my environment taking in different impressions, moods and patterns as well as observing my thoughts, emotions and the sensations in my physical body.
When I’m in the studio, I don’t work with any references. Sometimes I will write my dreams down. Sometimes I will open a book of symbols at random to pick a starting point. I allow all of the visual and emotional information to combine to create compositions that are both familiar and unfamiliar. Painting helps me to filter and process the information that I have taken in during the short term and the long term. I create series of work in which I invent my own vocabulary of mark making and symbolism. I also think about and reference classical mythology and Art HIstory
I take many photographs in the city, particularly of the natural decaying processes of concrete, and spray paint markings on things. I collect river and moon water, rocks, birds nests, flowers, plants, crushed plastic bottles and cans, and other interesting objects and bring them back to my studio. My grandfather was an archeologist and the director of a Marine archeology museum in Haifa, Isreal. I bring an archeological perspective to my collecting because of him.
I spend a few weeks every year at Gibraltar point on Toronto Island and on the Nicoya Pensinsula in Costa Rica. Being near water is meditative for me and helps to stimulate my creativity. I spent 6 weeks doing an Artist residency in Iceland. That landscape really influenced my work.
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.
I’m interested in art history and the origins of art making as a magic making practice and the ability of colour to have a healing or transformative effect on the body/ emotions mind. I like to explore a different magical function or possibility through each piece.
I see connections between my work and early mystic abstraction by artists like Hilma af Klint, Piet Mondrian, the later works of Lauren Harris, classical mythology, Romantic Landscape painting, Art Nouveau, Modernist Abstraction and 14th century icon painting. The work is a contemplation of the energetic basis of the universe, the healing process, inner alchemy and the intersections of personal and global ecologies.
Much of my past work has been about creating a contemporary expression of the Sublime, one which examines the human impact upon the forces of nature. By anthropomorphizing meteorological phenomenon such as rainbows and clouds my work explores climate change and extreme weather through the lens of archetypal mythology, metaphysical mapping and the alchemy of the urban environment.
Major bodies of work have included: Extreme Weather Magic Carpets, The Secret Life of Rainbows, The Sky is Falling, Adopt- An Extreme Cloud, Metaphysical Cartography and Infinity Pool. I’m interested in providing perspective on our current era of human made environmental change, and to suggest the intersectionality of healing of the individual with the eco-system at large.
About the Artist
Julie Gladstone is a Canadian artist currently based in Toronto. Holding a BFA from Concordia University (Montreal) Gladstone has had solo exhibitions at Walnut Contemporary, Navillus Gallery and GN Contemporary, and her work has been included in group exhibitions across Canada and the US.
She is the recipient of the Artscape Award (2014) the CSCE Emerging Artist Award at the Art Gallery of Alberta (2016). She has participated in artist residencies at Artscape Gibraltar Point, SIM International Artist Residency, (Iceland) and MUSE (Montreal). Her installation “Extreme Cloud Gazing” was featured at the Grow-Op Contemporary Art Fair and her work has received media attention from CBC Arts, The Guardian, Toronto Life and Notable as well as support from Toronto and Ontario Arts Council and the Government of Quebec.
A survey of her work was recently exhibited at the Department of Canadian Heritage (2018). In June 2019, Gladstone has been invited to have a solo exhibition at the Judío David Melul Mueum, in Béjar Spain. Her work can be found in private collections in Canada, the US, Germany and England, the City of Edmonton and the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers.
All images on this website are property of Julie Gladstone and may not be used or reproduced in any form without written permission from the artist.