Urgent Importance Opens Virtually and In-Person at the Emmanuel Art Gallery, September 2
Julie Puma’s exhibition is thoughtful, relevant, and strikingAug 27, 2020
Urgent Importance, a timely and thought-provoking collection of work highlighting the paintings and mixed media pieces by Julie Puma, will be on display at the Emmanuel Art Gallery and virtually at Emmanualgallery.org from September 2 – October 9, 2020.
Early work from the collection dates to 2016, when Puma began exploring how technology affects sense of self and interpretation of others. The paintings and photos are influenced by her daughter’s communication on social media platforms and the mountain of images, messages, and digital sensory cues that flood handheld screens. The magnitude of app alerts that move modern life to a faster, if not frantic pace, leave the question: what is urgency, what is important?
As the show, originally scheduled for late spring of 2020, was inevitably postponed, the curation of the exhibition was able to shift to share Puma’s new art. Her body of work grew to include influences of a health pandemic and the conflict and synergy of lives once rushed suddenly feeling halted. And a revised sense of what is of vital, significant, and pressing, especially as life attempts, if not fights, to return to normal.
“This body of work is a collaboration between others; as we exchange photographs via the latest technology and interact on live digital platforms,” says Puma. “These moments travel through our brain and memory very quickly and in this particularly critical time I am struck by how we internalize these instants.”
Puma’s works from spring 2020 give face and representation to healthcare heroes on the front lines battling corona virus. The work includes paintings and images of friends, family, and her expanded circle, and are interpreted in the way most often seen by the public who rarely left home for months—on screen.
All of the pieces have found a home in Urgent Importance as the process of a painting is a contrast to constant feeds of digital images we see daily on our screens from tv and newspaper journalists, the digital press and social media. The works are also a reminder of artists being the cultural interpreters of not just crisis, but of the small cultural shifts many are too busy to see.
“By taking images from snapchat conversations with family and friends that are meant to be fleeting and ephemeral and painstakingly painting them as cell phone oil portraits, Julie gives new meaning and importance to the relationships we have in real life and the digital world,” says Emmanuel Art Gallery Director Jeff Lambson. “The work takes on new meaning in light of recent worldwide events, where virtual meetings and conversations have become our sole source of connecting with others and highlights the importance of our inter-connectedness with each other.”
Julie Puma is a Visual Artist and Professor in the Fine Arts and Foundations department at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design in Denver, Colorado. 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.
HOW TO EXPERIENCE URGENT IMPORTANCE
Public Virtual Opening Reception: September 2 | 6-7pm
In Person: September 9 – October 9 | M/W 10-2, Th 10-12
CU Denver Emmanuel Art Gallery, 1205 10th St, Denver, CO 80204