Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Rewind V (red)

Julie Umerle.Rewind V (red).
55 x 55 cm. Acrylic on unprimed canvas. 2016.
© the artist

"The boundaries of the canvas can either be met, or withdrawn from in order to use the space within the substrate. Briony Fer has drawn attention to this choice in the paintings of Malevich and of Mondrian. While Malevich avoided the edge of the canvas, choosing instead to float abstract forms in the middle of the pictorial area, Mondrian embraced it. Malevich’s approach is evident in the paintings of Julie Umerle, whose often open-ended series explore repetition and difference within each group. The Rewind paintings, each tightly positioned within the confines of a square canvas, are a concretion of angles and arcs defined within a simple figure/ground relationship. Exploring geometric and biomorphic forms, these paintings are monochrome, minimalist and hard-edged."

© Piers Veness 2018

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Beyond the Surface: six abstract painters

'Beyond the Surface' at The Crypt, 2018
© Julie Umerle

           As a society we are losing the ability to look for a sustained length of time, our gaze now reduced to a glimpse. So accustomed are we to seeing images that they hardly register, perhaps pictures themselves are now losing their value.  In this regard digital media has a lot to answer for: over the course of the last decade, the quantity of images that we consume on a daily – or even hourly basis – has ballooned in direct proportion with the invasion of screens in our public and private personal space. According to a 2015 article in the New York Times, more than a trillion photos are taken every year. Where looking at an image was once a luxury to be savoured – think back to church paintings, engravings, even early photography – today an image barely makes a mark on our consciousness, so fleeting is it. As a result, our visual attention span is shortening: images have become a kind of constant enveloping feature of our habitat, always present but to which we now pay little attention.

Furthermore, the majority of images that bombard us in our pervasive digital lives are readily digestible, without the need for intellectual effort – in fact their success depends wholly upon their directness. Due to the vast quantity of images that vie with one another for our attention, the more direct the image the better the chances it has of registering in our minds. Consequently, we are losing our ability to look with depth at images, to see beyond the surface.

This therefore presents a serious challenge for those of us in the realm of painting. A painting asks us to spend time with it, the more time the better, and to reflect, investigate, imagine. But if visual audiences are now looking for just a fraction of a second, and expect immediacy of message, how do we counteract this?

The work in Beyond the Surface contains various geometrical elements: grids, doorways, blocks of colour, visual imageplay which perhaps hold our attention for longer than is customary. The underlying connection between the paintings is their internal structure, their sense of order and the way in which they work within the boundaries of the canvas. In an interview in The White Review in 2015, Rosalind Krauss stated that “the movement towards abstraction is a move towards the reflexive presentation of the material substrate of the work: the frame, the canvas.”  All of the paintings in this exhibition work within these reflections, and the exhibition as a whole reflects upon the length and the depth of the gaze in the digital world.    © Piers Veness, 2018

The exhibition BEYOND THE SURFACE: six abstract painters curated by Piers Veness, presents the work of six painters working with abstraction - Hanz Hancock, Patrick Morrissey, Marion Piper, Julie Umerle, Piers Veness and Simon Zabell.

Beyond the Surface is part of the Contemporary British Painting exhibition programme at The Crypt in St Marylebone Parish Church and organised by Square Art Projects.

28 March - 14 June 2018.

The Crypt, 17 Marylebone Road, St Marylebone Parish Church, London NW1 5LT

Open Mon - Fri 9am - 4pm, Sun closed

Occasionally The Crypt closes for private meetings, you can phone ahead to check times on 020 7935 7315 or 07809330592

Monday, 19 February 2018

Art4Grenfell

Broken Symmetry II. Acrylic on canvas. 45 x 45 cm
© Julie Umerle
Colin Sheaf, Chairman UK and Asia at the international auction house Bonhams, will take to the rostrum at the Art4Grenfell charity auction at the RBS Headquarters in the City of London on Wednesday 21 February. 

The ticket-only event is being held to raise money for the homeless residents and survivors of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. 100% of the funds raised will go to the families. I have donated a painting to the auction where more than 100 works donated by such well-known and respected names as Gilbert and George, Dame Zandra Rhodes, Andrew Logan and Boy George will be up for sale. 

Colin Sheaf said, "This will be an exhilarating art auction, with many acclaimed and noteworthy iconic artists from the UK and abroad kindly donating a painting or work of art to honor the victims of this tragic loss of life in London." 

The auction is open to all guests with admission by ticket only, and is being held on Wednesday 21 February at The Atrium, 3rd Floor, 250 Bishopsgate EC2M 2AA with the Preview and Reception from 6.00pm, followed by the Live Auction starting at 7.00pm. Admission is by pre-purchased ticket only, with all seated and standing tickets available for purchase online at: https://tiny.cc/a4g

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Studio photos

Here are some photos from my London studio to start the year. Paint brushes, paint pots, palette knife, canvas and spring flowers in January!





Wednesday, 6 December 2017

2017: A look back and a look forward

Now we're reaching the end of 2017, I thought it would be timely to post a couple of paintings I made this year which will be exhibited in 2018. So far, this series of new canvases entitled 'Split Infinity' has only been seen by visitors to my London studio. I am very happy now to be able to share these paintings with you.

It's been a tremendous year professionally for me, with a touring show of China and being selected for the APT Open Exhibition in London as just a couple of its highlights.

I'm looking forward to 2018 when I will be continuing my role as artist in residence at The Marriott Canary Wharf. My first group show of the season, Beyond the Surface, is planned for the end of March at The Crypt, St Marylebone Parish Church in London.

Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous New Year! Thank you as always for following me and I very much appreciate your support!

'Split Infinity'. 2017. 152 x 152 cm. Acrylic on canvas
© Julie Umerle

'Split Infinity II'. 2017. 152 x 152 cm. Acrylic on canvas
© Julie Umerle




Saturday, 25 November 2017

Artist Residency


'BlueTurquoise' (85 x 95cm) at The Marriott, Canary Wharf
© Julie Umerle

I took up my artist residency at The Marriott in Canary Wharf last month. Exhibiting my work in a public space and outside of an exclusively art environment is an exciting undertaking. I am delighted to have this opportunity to engage with a new audience and to present my work within the context of a non-gallery setting - quite different to how my work is usually viewed.

The residency is very much a collaboration between myself and the staff at the hotel. After a great deal of preparation, measuring the space and considering our options, we began by hanging five paintings in the downstairs gallery. After all, this is the showcase for my project and it has to look impressive!

Then I was invited to hang a further twelve paintings in the upstairs lobbies, one painting on each floor. Right now, there are a further eight paintings at the hotel ready to be hung in the executive suites. This is an ongoing project and will evolve over the course of the residency. No doubt, the work will change too over the course of the year.

One of the best parts of the project is being made to feel so welcome by the staff and management who are genuinely interested in the paintings and each have their own favourite piece. It's a pleasure to welcome visitors and guests to see my paintings in this context.

I do hope that some of you will be able to see my work at The Marriott if you are in London. This is an exhibition that is open 24/7, with the light changing over the course of the day. So far, I have had some useful feedback.

I am very much enjoying the challenge that comes in working with a worldwide brand and no doubt will learn much from the experience going forward.

Location: London Marriott, 22 Hertsmere Road, Canary Wharf, London E14 

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

London Marriott Canary Wharf

© Julie Umerle
JULIE UMERLE is artist in residence at The Marriott in the heart of London's financial district of Canary Wharf. Her paintings are exhibited in the Lower Ground Floor Gallery and on floors 1 - 12.

Umerle is an award winning abstract painter known for her use of colour and space whose paintings combine an experimental approach to materials with precision and thought.

The artist studied Fine Art at Parsons School of Design, New York and at Falmouth University, Cornwall. She exhibits extensively in the UK and internationally with recent shows including the Royal Academy, Maidstone Museum, Scope Miami Art Show and Yantai Art Museum. Her work is touring China in the 'Contemporary Masters from Britain' exhibition from 2017 - 2018.

Umerle's paintings are collected by global brands such as Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale Bank and Pinsent Masons LLP. Her work is represented in several museums and private collections.

Location: London Marriott, 22 Hertsmere Road, Canary Wharf, London E14