'Recent Paintings' at Bermondsey Project Space, London
Julie Umerle | Recent Paintings
18 - 29 May 2021
Bermondsey Project Space,
183 - 185 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UW
Private View 20 May 6pm - 9pm
“While Umerle’s abstract paintings are not political at first sight, succeeding as a disabled woman against many odds and obstacles could be interpreted as a political statement of defiance against a world where everyone who appears different continues to be stigmatised.”
In March 2021, six lockdown paintings by London-based artist Julie Umerle were emblazoned upon thirty-six huge screens on the facade of the Flannels flagship store in Oxford Street. The work was selected by W1 Curates for a project to support NHS workers during the pandemic crisis. These visually arresting abstract paintings form part of an exhibition of Umerle’s recent work at Bermondsey Project Space this May.
Julie Umerle’s career includes a solo show at the Barbican Centre; museum exhibitions as far afield as Poland, the USA and China; prestigious collaborations including Deutsche Bank at Frieze London curated by Tracey Emin; and an artist residency with Marriott Hotels.
Her memoir, ‘Art, Life and Everything’, was published in 2019 to critical acclaim, described as “perfect lockdown reading” by the strategic consultant Meike Brunkhorst, and "a thoroughly enjoyable read, showing the importance and joy of painting" by Robin Klassnik, founder and director of Matt's Gallery, London.
‘Recent Paintings’ is curated by art writer, editor and curator Anna McNay and supported by Arts Council England. It is Julie’s second solo show at Bermondsey Project Space and comprises works made in and out of lockdown that explore the parameters of geometry, light, and space. Two aspects of her current practice are on display: paintings of solid architectural shapes and paintings of colour, splatters and drips.
Anna McNay has written an essay to accompany the exhibition, which takes the viewer through Umerle’s series of abstract works and their various conflicts and aesthetic travels. On Julie Umerle’s Unfolded Polygon series (illustrated) McNay writes: “Here she frequently turned to origami to ‘find’ her shape – hence the ‘series’ title – or, alternatively, worked with drawing. Although still solid shapes, her choice of light, soft colours and tints, using oil and beeswax, creates a delicacy and luminosity, a suggestion of birth (enhanced by the baby blues and pinks), or the unfurling of a new life form.” You can read the essay in full here:
The exhibition is accompanied by events including a book reading by Julie Umerle from her memoir, a curator's talk by Anna McNay, and a gallery performance.
April 7, 2021