A Colorado native, Julie Maren received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her creative path has led her to work as a painter, stone carver, installation artist, ceramicist, textile designer and children’s book illustrator. Maren’s artwork has been exhibited in the U.S and abroad, and she has received major grants, public art commissions Maren’s nomadic tendencies have brought her around the globe several times—attending international stone carving symposiums and artist residencies. She is also a nature lover, hot springs hopper, night owl, mushroom hunter, and yogini.
“Love is Love” acorn tops, acrylic paint, glass, mica, crystal and brass, 2019 $3000
I create flexible and adaptive installations out of acorns filled with paint and other materials including glass, mica and crystals and mounted on brass rods.
I originally began this project at an art residency in Connecticut surrounded by the woods blanketed in fallen acorns. My objective was to explore taking my paintings out of traditional squares and rectangular canvases. I began filling the acorn caps with paints, finding them to be the perfect vehicle to transcend the dot patterns in my paintings by taking the patterns out of their rectangular confines.
What emerged was a photography based project that I titled the “Wandering Dots.” I took a box of brightly colored, paint filled acorns on my travels over a year, and “documented” the dots in different landscapes as they made their endless journey in search of a new home, after their homeland was destroyed. It was my response to the migrant crisis all over the globe and my frustration to their plight during this increasingly nationalistic time that we are all living in.
While this new art medium has evolved and the “Biophilia” have found their way onto interior walls, I still think of them as as having an animate quality as they traverse surfaces and swarm together in biomorphic patterns, like organisms exploring a new location.
With this work, I can focus on the interplay of color and patterns—the foundation of my paintings. And, as I am also a sculptor, this new art form feels like the marriage of both media. Dot patterns have inhabited my paintings for decades—weaving in and out of the central imagery, functioning as background; symbolic of space and time—like points on a 3-dimensional grid.
The combination of the natural, familiar acorn tops filled with synthetic materials in eerie, unnatural colors feels familiar yet mysterious—otherworldly. I like using florescent and intense colors because it feels like I am reanimating the “dead” shells that nature has discarded, into new seductive organisms which appear to glow from within. I found inspiration in the microscopic worlds of bioluminescent organisms on a beach and the macrocosm of star galaxies above.
“Midnight Garden” $7500, fabric, paper, acrylic paint, 2018
This collage based painting explores the liminal space between consciousness and the dreamworld through the combination of photographic images of nature and “decorator” textiles and wallpaper reinterpretations of nature.