Multifaceted and Polyamorous Paintings by Julia Hickey

Exhibits // Multifaceted and Polyamorous Paintings by Julia Hickey

Oct 4 - Nov 3

Overview // By the age of eight, Julia Hickey, a San Luis Obispo native, was already painting geometric abstractions in children’s art classes held at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (then the San Luis Obispo Art Center). It seems only natural that she will have her first solo museum exhibition twenty years later at the same place that nurtured her creativity years ago. Multifaceted and Polyamorous, a collection of Ms. Hickey’s abstract paintings, will be on view in the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art’s First Gallery from October 4 to 27, 2013.

After graduating from Mission College Preparatory in San Luis Obispo, Ms. Hickey left for Yale University, where she went on to major in studio art. During college, she was awarded a fellowship from the Yale University Art Gallery to complete a series of paintings inspired by the landscape and violent history of Guatemala, where her mother was born. After graduating in 2007, she moved abroad, living in Oxford, England as a resident artist at the Oxford Printmakers Cooperative. There she completed a series of etchings, the technical process of which would later inform her painting practice.

The images Ms. Hickey creates are never fully pre-conceived, nor do they have an overt message. Instead they are illusory with a graphic, trompe-l’oeil intended to inspire contradictory readings by the viewer. She prefers that the image and logic of her paintings emerge and evolve naturally, even spontaneously. She aims to “obliterate organized forms by spraying, masking, and scraping” while at the same time introducing “order via illusionism and subtle color choices.”

After four years on the East Coast and a stint in the United Kingdom and Spain, Ms. Hickey eventually returned to the Central Coast. For the past five years, she has been writing for The Tribune by day and painting in her studio by night. Though she might have followed her peers to New York or Los Angeles, larger cities with higher concentrations of critically engaged artists, San Luis Obispo has provided her with relative solitude, peace of mind, and affordable studio rent. “It's a safe space for the kind of tactile exploration and deep self-questioning that's been necessary for me to start a life of painting,” Ms. Hickey says. “Sure I majored in art, but I never really had enough time with all my other classes and the social experiences of college to really learn to paint. That has all happened here.”

Details // A reception and opportunity to meet the artist will take place on Friday, October 4, from 6–9 pm, in conjunction with Art After Dark.