RAIR | 2017-18
Julie Alpert | Seattle, WA
Julie Alpert was born and raised in the Washington, DC, suburbs and has lived in Seattle since 2006. She has a BA from the University of Maryland and an MFA from the University of Washington. She is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Award, two MacDowell Colony Fellowships, a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship, two Artist Trust GAP grants, an Artist Trust Fellowship, The New Foundation Residency Program Grant, and The Roswell Artist in Residence Fellowship. In 2015, she was commissioned by the Seattle Art Fair to create a 54-foot installation at MadArt Studio and has an upcoming commission at the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design.
I modify and arrange craft materials and found-objects in temporary room-size compositions that become frozen records of my private performance. Once the work is complete, I document and de-install it. Nothing remains but the photographs and a pile of broken and tattered materials, like the forlorn detritus of an epic celebration the night before. I use a set of invented symbols like roses, chains, bows, drips, nonsensical text, hearts, hashtags and flying carpets. This imagery references love letters, teenage doodling in the margins of notebooks, and the search for personal identity through handwriting when we first learn the cursive alphabet. It also touches on nostalgia, decoration, high fashion, and standards of femininity. I am deeply influenced by my suburban upbringing in the Washington, DC suburbs and the wild 1970s interior patterning and curio cabinets of both low and high-brow collectibles that decorated these spaces.
Roswell Museum and Art Center
Rair exhibition • Julie Alpert "Finishing Touches" March 17 - April 29, 2018
Finishing Touches is an arrangement of installation, drawing, sculpture and paper tapestries that use everyday craft materials to evoke nostalgia for my suburban 1980s childhood. Like memories or dreams, flat forms drawn to imitate dimension and movement hang in real space, but are merely illusionistic temporary fixed facades.
The title Finishing Touches refers to the final careful embellishments we add to make something presentable: a ribbon around the gift wrap, the fluffing of a pillow on a freshly made bed, the labor-intensive styling of freshly washed and dried hair. I’m interested in the effort made for something that will eventually be dismantled, undone or disposed of, but which feels existentially necessary to perform.
During my year in Roswell, I’ve focused on a visual language of chains, bows, roses, drips and drapery, and limited my materials to craft paper, cardboard, sharpies, colored pencil, string and duct tape. I use these forms in repetition, as copies and replicas of themselves, then shine a light on them to echo one last time as shadows.