Picturing Evanston

Julie Meridian

What brought you to Evanston?
I grew up in Cincinnati and came to Evanston following my husband’s career. I was – and still am – excited to become part of Evanston’s vibrant and diverse creative community.

How does your environment inform your art?
Nature is my muse. I’m endlessly fascinated and curious about the small natural wonders that I encounter each day, and my studio is filled with collections of leaves, pods, feathers, nests, shells, bones, insects, etc.

Describe your art, in a hundred words or less.
My artwork is an ongoing experiment to explore what I experience as constantly shifting layers of perception, memory, imagination and time. I’m especially drawn to the transition between the tangible presence of something as common as a leaf or tree and the mystery of its intangible life force. I am astonished by the transient nature of life, by its tenacity and endurance, by the inevitability of loss, and by the transcendence of beauty.

What is your medium?
My media are primarily light, shadow and reflections. My process is akin to drawing and collage, although with very ephemeral elements. I use a camera to capture images that may last only for a moment.

What are you currently working on?
After many years of working with natural light and still life compositions within the confines of my studio, I’ve recently felt the urge to venture outdoors to explore the possibilities of layered, reflected images in the natural world.  Carrying the simple prop of a piece of Plexiglas, I create a portable “window” between the camera and my subject – one that is both transparent and reflective. The slightest tilt in the angle or direction of the Plexiglas yields infinite possibilities for composition and is a constant source of discovery and invention.

Name one piece of art, by any artist, that blew your mind or otherwise inspired you.
Olivia Parker’s 1987 book Weighing the Planets was a revelation to me. Her still life images were made up of a few found objects combined with shadows that she projected and composed in a very lyrical way. I realized that a camera could be a tool of invention, not just documentation.

Why art?
Art has always been a natural and necessary creative pursuit for me. Art is my joy, the intuitive way that I perceive the world, imagine possibilities, encounter surprise, and explore personal themes

Julie’s website