GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet: What are you working on?
Jessica Jane Julius: I’ve just finished an installation entitled Static at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is part of the exhibition “Craft Spoken Here” curated by Elisabeth Agro. It’s a work inspired by a reoccurring dream that I’ve had since I was young. Within the dream, an infinite three-dimensional black line begins to vibrate and bend creating a build up of anxiety. Static is an attempt to turn the emotion from the dream into form. The installation is made from thousands of black flameworked glass threads. About 50 percent is Bullseye thread and 50 percent is black threads I pulled during my CGCA fellowship at WheatonArts in the summer of 2011. These threads are then manipulated using a torch to create sharp angles that interlock together to create an organic system I can build with. When I’m installing the work I respond to the space as if I am scribbling with a black pen on a white piece of paper. Static was such a labor-intensive work it consumed much of my time for the past year. Now that I’ve completed it, I can continue my other projects. I always work on a number of series of work at the same time, dealing with ideas of transformation, perspective, and materiality.
I’m currently interested in the fundamental element of line and how it defines two-dimensional shapes or three-dimensional forms. I’ve been using a mouse-tracking computer program to record the movement it makes when I’m using my computer. I plan on translating these maps into three-dimensional drawings. Each drawing represents a period of time spent on the computer and shows an unconscious pattern that is being made through my movements that will be translated from digital space into real space.
GLASS: What have you seen recently that has inspired you, and got you thinking about your own work?
Jessica: Last summer I received my second fellowship at Wheaton Arts. That time was such a gift because it allowed me to fully submerge myself in my work. During that fellowship, Hank Adams found a black widow on his arm in the garden, he put her in a jar and gave her to the fellows as a gift. Brett Swenson, Erica Rosenfeld, Sara Pitt, and I created an aquarium for Betty, as we called the spider. She lived outside of my studio and every time I entered my space I was confronted with my fear and awe of her. I began to try to extract where the fear came from and broke it down to her long slender black legs. I began to create the leg form using black flameworked glass. This became an installation called Tripod(2011).
The piece was made from thousands of these legs put into groupings of three and installed on an 8-foot wall. From a distance it looks like a smudge of dirt but as you approach you begin to recognize the individuals and the form. The piece allows for discovery, movement, and personal associations to form.
I’ve also been obsessed with the color safety orange. It’s a color that has a universal meaning of warning and is used to draw attention. I’ve been looking at a lot of orange scaffolding and how this structure blurs and draws attention to a building suggesting work needs to be done. I’ve been using this concept in my work by flameworking safety orange frameworks that fit around a subject. For example, my piece Blurring the Subject is made from flameworked orange Bullseye thread that fits my face.
GLASS: Where is it possible to see your work?
Jessica: Static is on display until August 2012 at The Philadelphia Museum of Art. On the PMA website for the exhibition you can see a time-lapse video of the installation of the piece. It took six people four days to install, and this process was turned into a 4-minute video. You may also visit my website
jessicajanejulius.com to stay updated on new work and upcoming exhibitions.