Julian Lorber is a talented emerging artist working in a variety of unique media. We came across his work a year or so ago after meeting him at a Frontrunner show and remembering his work from the Bushwick Open Artist Studio Tour the year before. We caught up with Julian post Hurricane Sandy to talk life and recent work.
Tell us about coming to NYC, making the jump to making work in Bushwick, and showing your work.
I grew up in Greenwich, NY a few hours upstate. Since my family is from New York, my father from Brooklyn and my mother from the Bronx, I’ve been coming to the city my whole life for one reason or another. I moved the city in 2005 after receiving my B.F.A from the Massachusetts College of Art. I worked for various artists and galleries before opening my studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn in May of 2010. I created new larger works, held an open studio and visitors immediately showed interest. Sophie Hill a curator visiting from London interviewed me for NY Arts Magazine and included a canvas in group exhibition featuring new art from New York and London. From there interest has only increased including Whitehot Magazine and exhibiting with et al Projects. I feel very fortunate to have been in Bushwick at that moment.
I am interested in your materials. I count window soot, flexible vinyl, mylar, and archival tape as pretty unique materials. What influenced this? Are there any good stories behind these material choices?
I encounter these materials over time and as they’ve made an impression on me they’ve slowly made their way into my work each year. I started with the question of process and how an individual artist arrives at the final work we see. I thought about this as layering, of materials as well as a layering of ideas, feelings and intentions. The materials you mentioned have been added to my drawings and paintings over the last few years. I covered up or revealed my process through my non-hierarchical layering techniques. Over time I’ve moved from drawing on paint to create surface, to layering with more physical materials like soot and tape as a way of creating my own unique surface before painting. The vinyl was unique as a material that I could work on both sides as well as leave areas transparent as a window into this process.
The layering technique seems so precise. Can you speak to this?
There are boundaries and borders as well as defined edges. I balance lines and layers so unintentional horizontal or vertical patterns do not develop. I begin in this way and as I move towards surface elements, the technique is less about precision and more about paint, light, color, movement and illusion.
What are your Abstract influences? Color, shape, and materials.
I don’t know that I have any direct abstract influences and I’m not always art inspired. I’m inspired by the environment and pollution such as when soot builds up on urban architecture and on the interior of my studio windows. I’m inspired by street art and automotive paint and how they sit on objects and architecture. I’m influenced by artist’s ideas and questions, for example my artist friends pushed me to ask myself the questions about painting that I really wanted to answer. I’ve been influenced by traumatic events in my own life and I try to translate the emotions into something like science fiction.
Do you go to art shows and what have been your favorite this year?
I see a lot in a year but a few exhibitions that I thought had something interesting were Oh, Canada at Mass Moca, Cindy Sherman at MoMa as well as Rory Donaldson, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Ernesto Neto and Thomas Scheibitz.
Is there someone you recommend we interview next?