Julie Poulsen’s instinctive creativity, curiosity and feel for colour and composition were informed by a diversity of climates and lifestyles in her formative years. From the deep green wilds of Papua New Guinea to the shiny, bustling Gold Coast and from traditional Toowoomba and the United Kingdom to frontier Cooktown, Julie’s travels have fed her natural tendency towards exploration, discovery and experimentation.
Born and later educated in Brisbane from mid primary school, Julie spent a year with her family in Cooktown in 1977 before moving to Toowoomba to embark on a Diploma of Creative Arts. At the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education, in an era exemplified by non-directed arts study and limited formal tuition, Julie formulated a mind set of investigation which would characterise her future art practice. Tapping in to the sensitivities of printmaking, the gutsiness of oils, the pliability of soft sculpture and the spontaneous bliss of drawing, each altered direction reflected the changing and intersecting pathways in Julie’s life.
In the late eighties Julie manoeuvred back into painting, juggling work and motherhood as women typically do – with determination and efficiency. These early works mirror this energy, painted with a fresh, raw fervour, with multiple layers of child-like images reflecting her children’s drawings.
Painting remained the focus until 2002 when the nature of her art practice shifted. The new works became light and open, a combination of painting, drawing, printmaking and stitched assemblage. The change was a return to the source, an extension of works started at art college. In 2005, an exhibition of new works at Cairns Regional Gallery was to clarify and establish this new direction for Julie in a dramatic way. Décor Sermon was 50 metres of artwork 148cms high covering the walls of the Loft Art Space. It was a raucous combination of materials – stitched panels, found objects and thought-provoking imagery – presented as a playful reinvention of the puffed up notion of the perfect interior décor.
In 2006 Julie turned her creatively analytical mind to commonplace café signage for her new body of work Menu Board. With trademark playfulness and wit, Julie played with the text, language and aesthetics of chalkboard café menus and roadside food stalls and reinvented them with new beauty and meaning. With Julie’s poetic twist, the signs assumed cultural, geographical and even economic symbolism while retaining an intriguing ambiguity. Menu Board was exhibited at KickArts Contemporary Arts in Cairns in 2007.
Julie’s work Remainder+ continues to stretch the boundaries of the established formulas for aesthetics. She is currently exploring the charming imperfections in the discarded debris from energetic printmaking sessions. These often happy accidents are windows into the creative process and into the mind of the artist themselves. In the same way that film outtakes can provide insights into the character of a performer, these miscellaneous rejects reveal something of the heartfelt toil behind a finished work of art.
With Julie’s touch, elements of the everyday take on a life of their own as unique works of art, testaments to her ongoing quest for new visual narratives and her delightfully unpredictable style.
Port Pouglas #2 2009 Mixed media on paper 50 x 35cm
Port Douglas #1 2009 Mixed media on paper 60 x 42 cm
Sailing sideways in grey #1 2009 Mixed media on paper 60 x 42 cm
Sailing sideways in grey #2 2009 Mixed media on paper 50 x 35cm