About the work

Julie Henderson grew up in Massachusetts, spent time in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Austin, Texas, and now lives in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. She received degrees in painting and art history from the Massachusetts College of Art and the University of Delaware. 

Julie likes the idea that people write their own stories as they go through life. There are basically no true rules about which paths to take from moment to moment, and so there are infinite ways in which to live. This is a disorienting realization at first, but ultimately can be freeing, especially when one cannot work within the expected smooth trajectories (such as school: college: career). Julie’s life path has had many branches and tangles to get through. 

When she began oil painting again in 2018 after a long break, she soon realized that she was not only restarting her artistic practice. She was also rediscovering her own sense of self,  having since had two children and learned she was neurodivergent. Painting a variety of figures with different personas and in unusual circumstances allows her to express her difficulty in navigating ambiguities, challenges, relationships, and current events in the world. Throughout everything she looks for unexpected instances of beauty and joy.

Winding paths, confusing situations, cryptic interactions, and strange natural phenomena are all elements that appear repeatedly in Julie’s paintings and drawings. The color palettes range from intense red and green to cool pink and warm gold, reflecting the emotional tone of each work. Julie combines the real and imagined and the strange and familiar into images that convey stories of love, alienation, desire, anxiety, joy, and safety. As images, motifs, and details are repeated in her paintings, an iconography has begun to emerge - a unique language in which to tell her stories. Additionally, a new narrative has begun to branch off out of her initial ideas, one developed from the juxtaposition of various figures.

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