A celebration of shape, colour & pattern -Julia Flanagan

Julia Flanagan is an artist who works across various media including painting, sculpture, textiles and drawing. Winner of the 2019 Georges River Sculpture Prize, Julia is the only artist this year with both a painting and sculpture selected in the Georges River Art Prize.

“Whimsical and playful, the pieced together shapes of colour and patterns within my timber construction reference textiles, decorative arts, architectural forms and my suburban environment. I work in an improvised way to make colourful, quirky and joyful pieces. I’m interested in creating a sense of harmony within colour and pattern arrangements; looking at how colours can relate to one another, vibrate and glow.”

Everything I own, painted timber construction Julia Flanagan

Everything I own, painted timber construction

Born in Newcastle, Julia moved to Sydney to study painting and completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the National Art School in 2004, followed by Honours in painting. Working from home while she had young children, she began exploring textiles; designing and making hand-painted leather bags. As she moved back into painting and art making, her strong interest in textiles, pattern painting, geometric forms, colour and printmaking emerged within her new works. In the last few years, Julia’s work has moved away from the representational, to focus upon the contrasts and connections between the colours and patterns themselves.

Julia enjoys working across a variety of media, working on more than one piece at a time.  This is not a quick process; often works across painting and sculpture can influence each other.  What is an important first step are the preparatory drawings, the expression of her initial ideas, which in turn are referenced as a source of inspiration for paintings and sculptures.

“I usually begin with making a series of drawings and sketches. At the moment, I’m really taken with textas and coloured pencil for these rough and quick drawings, they allow me to be less precious about the end result as they’re not such precious materials, which I think makes the drawings free and loose. My drawings begin with random placings of small geometric shapes. These form the bones of the piece and enable me to compose the drawing through connecting pencil lines. Once the basic composition is down I can start with the colour and pattern play. Quite often the under-drawing is ignored as the colour and patterns take over. The drawings are an important part in the painting process as I work through compositional ideas and play with various colour and pattern combinations.”

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Selection of progress images.

For Julia, the drawing process is a crucial phase in the creation of a successful sculpture and is used as a reference for the creation of a three-dimensional form. Painted timber construction is a labour intensive process, each piece is hand cut, primed, glued together and painted. Looking at the myriad of colours and patterns that make up Everything I own, this work can be seen to evoke a tower of building blocks, in a vibrant rainbow of colours, patterns and shapes. The solidity of these shapes is just as important as the voids between each form.  Take the time to walk around the form and look through to gain an alternative perspective, soak up the play of patterns and colours each shape has with the one next to it. Strong, bold, solid horizontal lines sit alongside thin diagonal lines. This reveals the success of this three-dimensional form, encouraging the viewer to look and interact with these shapes.

Everything I own (detail), Julia Flanagan

Everything I own, (detail) painted timber construction.

The Georges River Art Prize 2019 will be on display until the end of January 2020.


Julia Flanagan, Modern Times https://www.moderntimes.com.au/shop/artist/julia-flanagan/

Julia Flanagan, Egg & Dart https://www.egganddart.com.au/julia-flanagan

Artest artschool https://www.artest.com.au/tutor/192

Exploring colour and pattern, Andrew Collins, 4 September 2017, The South Sydney Herald https://southsydneyherald.com.au/exploring-colour-and-pattern-artist-profile-julia-flanagan/

Julia Flanagan, @juliaflanagan https://www.instagram.com/juliamflanagan/?hl=en

Julian Flanagan, Global Gallery, Paddington, Sydney https://www.global-gallery-art.com/julia-flanagan.html


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