Julia Rogers is a visual artist using performance, installation, photography, drawing and painting to communicate. She has explored responses in performance, 2D, 3D and installation. Her work uses light and shade to transform the environment in which the object is placed, expanding and altering its presence and meaning. Site-specific work responds to the history, people and particular space to develop challenging and engaging pieces. Mortality and morality are concepts that are of interest and responses are developed through sustained exploration in a range of materials and methods of presentation. The structure of the human form is frequently referenced, with an interest in aesthetics, shape and symbolism. Throughout her work there is an essence of the ethereal, simplicity of form, and reference to time. Rogers is interested in what remains after everything else has decayed, when all else has disintegrated. All that are left are the shadows etched into our memory. A simplified, idealised reality.
Newbury Weekly News arts review
The hall at Ace Space in Newbury is currently filled with eight large paintings by Julia Rogers, showing her skill as a colourist, and most sharing a narrative dimension: sometimes fugitive; sometimes suggested through mark making; or sometimes evident in figuration.
There is a feel of Robert Rauschenberg to several of the pieces, including the richly coloured diptych ‘Jimi’ and ‘Hey You’, both with scratched and drawn elements. ‘Jimi’ is a homage to Hendrix, with collaged features – torn gig posters – and typography, the figure ‘50’ alluding to the number of years which have elapsed since he literally electrified the world with his guitar playing. The black and white starburst in each painting, suggestive of beams of stage lights and fame, lie at opposite corners of the compositions, theatrically linking them.
Rogers’ enjoyment of the physical qualities of paint and colour combinations is also apparent in ‘Failed’. Vibrant blocks of paint are scored with drawn elements to reveal the paint beneath, and there is some representation: are we in an interior with a window? Typographical features contrast formal – and formalised – printing with spontaneous, free drawing, within this unified work.
Several works hang, scroll like, on large unfurled sheets of paper. ‘An Audience with Caligula’ is one of three pieces concerned with myth and ancient cultures. Drawing is again evident, with layers of skimmed paint pierced through to the layers beneath; figurative and semi-figurative elements are loosely drawn over abstract blocks of colour. There is a hint of a threat: a Disney-esque form is juxtaposed with two sinister figures, their beak-like heads evoking medieval physicians. There is danger – and death – in the unsettled surface and winged skeleton of the black and white ‘Myth and Mortality II’ (graphite and paint); ‘Torn’, a large sheet of paper pierced by a tear, pays homage to Lucio Fontana.
In the delicate ‘Ancestral Stories’, drawing predominates. A bovine skull and its echoed form evoke ancient, pre-Christian cultures. Spontaneously applied and splashed colour lies on a graph-like asymmetrical grid pattern, the centre pinning down a bold, black typographic X. ‘Constellation’, in black, white and gold, a spherical planet or perhaps the universe, is dotted with small red and blue motifs, like Google map markers. Hung during its making at several different angles, the dripping paint has created a delicate white burst, shooting beyond the sphere into the dense coal-black of space.
The show can be seen by those attending classes or events at Ace Space, or by appointment.
Showing in the bar, and not part of this review, are works by Gavin Wilkinson, major pieces from some of his previous shows.
Julia Rogers’s website is http://www.axisweb.org/p/juliarogers/