FIELD DAY – JULIE PUMA

On view June 28th through August 3rd, 2024

Though predominately autobiographical, Field Day explores the universality of personal nostalgia; the myriad ways in which we often find ourselves striving to piece together fragments of our youth. Inspired by family snapshots and home movies, Puma explores the degradation of detail and the shifting of context when recalling the past, attempting to reconcile the objective visual truth of archival images, with the more subjective emotions of childhood memories.

Artist Bio

Brought as a baby to England by well-traveled parents, Julie Puma spent her first fourteen years there with summers spent in her native Brooklyn. Her earliest memory of art is at age five when her mother gave her a set of oil paints which she used to paint a flower on a Styrofoam meat package. Only a year later her mother would pass away from breast cancer. Her father remarried and his work with IBM moved Julie, her sister, and the new family back to the United States where they settled in the Chicago area. An interest in art wasn’t apparent in high school, but after graduating from Western Illinois State University, Julie went on to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago to achieve a Masters of Art in Art Therapy. Her passion for painting was kindled as she practiced art therapy while experiencing its healing powers for herself and deepening her own creative talent.Julie made her way to Colorado to care for her sister who was also afflicted with breast cancer. Here she met her husband, gave birth to a daughter, and continued to refine and cultivate her artistic growth. Fueled by her family tragedies, Julie’s painting and art evolved as a means for greater communication and exploration of social and political themes. She earned a second Master’s degree in Fine Art in Visual Art with the Vermont College of Fine Art. Currently, Julie is Full Professor in the Foundations and Fine Arts Department at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver. Julie’s work has been exhibited nationally and locally in several solo and collaborative shows since 1997. Prized by collectors, her drawings and paintings are personal and powerful, resonant and relevant contemporary realism.

Artist Statement

I consider myself a mixed media artist. Painting is my joy and I seem to come home to it time and time again. During Covid I turned my attention to painting photographs sent to me by health care workers, friends of healthcare workers, and images found on the internet. The process of painting healthcare workers was a way to take the invisible enemy (the virus) and make visible the heroes (health care workers). In some ways painting nurses, doctors, and respiratory therapists allowed me to grieve the loss of lives, loss of society, and loss of economy.Most recently I have returned to a familiar autobiographical theme – “Nostalgia, Loss, Memory and the Search for Meaning”. When I was six my mother died of breast cancer. As a result of her death, I have very little memory of her and the years following her death. Throughout my practice I have utilized autobiographical exploration to try and piece childhood memories together. Working from smaller mixed media pieces and old photographs, I have started creating oil paintings paired with mini-installations (sculpture/mixed media). I find myself staring at old photographs and memorabilia with longing; hoping on some level this process will awaken some part of my brain to my memories, so far this has not happened. These paintings/video and installations cannot “fix” this gap in my life but perhaps the process of making/sharing the experience can help to heal.