'Beyond the Surface', The Crypt, London
"The boundaries of the canvas can either be met, or withdrawn from in order to use the space within the substrate. Briony Fer has drawn attention to this choice
in the paintings of Malevich and of Mondrian. While Malevich avoided the edge of the canvas, choosing instead to float abstract forms in the middle of the pictorial
area, Mondrian embraced it. Malevich’s approach is evident in the paintings of Julie Umerle, whose often open-ended series explore repetition and difference within
each group. The Rewind paintings, each tightly positioned within the confines of a square canvas, are a concretion of angles and arcs defined within a simple figure/ground
relationship. Exploring geometric and biomorphic forms, these paintings are monochrome, minimalist and hard-edged."
Piers Veness, 2018
Excerpt from online catalogue
Julie Umerle. Exhibition at Art Bermondsey Project Space, London
"Her practice suggests continuing creative developments of which interrupted moments are crystallised and thus depicted on canvas.
Through a great work of abridgement, Umerle expresses clarity in degrees of precision and harmony."
Excerpt from 'London Art Reviews' article. 9 April 2017.
Julie Umerle: An Experiment in Mark-Making
"These paintings are an experiment, both in mark-making and materials, and typical of the way in which Umerle works: progressing from one piece to the next, continuing an idea, cycling
through open-ended series, pushing boundaries and exploring elements that fascinate her along the way."
From exhibition catalogue 'Rewind' at Art Bermondsey Project Space, London, 2016
[Download catalogue essay]
More exploring art, Julie Umerle at Art Bermondsey Project Space
"Pieces alive with thought, with precise energy, precise yet free, one appearing to lead to the next, a flowing on-going series, exploring,
minimal and at the same time anything but, pieces alive in their boldness in the stark white of the very white uncluttered almost naked rawness
of the gallery. There's a serene sense to the drips, nothing feels random, the process is intriguing. This is a rewarding show, a strong show, intriguing pieces,
thoughtful, graceful, powerful, bold, beautiful, a celebration of paint and the art of the mark and the artist's energy, her need to explore, to engage, to take
it all on. The result is a beautifully minimal show, uncluttered works, refreshingly honest, slightly flawed in the most human of ways, an ongoing process a
painter must go through again and again (and again)."
Excerpt from 'Organ Magazine' article. 9 September 2016.
Julie Umerle: New Paintings
"Umerle arrives at her imagery via a hyper formalism that makes no distinction between medium, surface, and support. The formal apparatus is gravity’s gesture, its pull downwards.
Illusionistic depth is achieved by the layering of the medium, which is an interesting nod to history. The physicality of the layers bears a relationship to the Baroque curtain;
here it is a curtain that is divided into strands of acrylic. It has the effect of suspending time,
as the paint tends to conceal and reveal, stretching away from the viewer into infinite space."
Excerpt from 'NY Arts Magazine' article, Vol 17, Summer 2011
Cosmos or Chaos
"Her works seem to evoke a feeling of suspension, as if what we see is a held or frozen moment within an on-going process. This sense of simplicity is achieved through an enormous
process of condensation, resulting in a level of clarity and unity that permeates the work."
Simon Morley, British artist and art historian
From exhibition catalogue 'Cosmos or Chaos' at studio1.1, London, 2010
[Download catalogue essay]
"Umerle has been inspired by chaos theory and fractals, exploring the interaction between freedom and control in her work. Brush strokes are replaced with the direct interaction of
liquid elements on canvas within these paintings. Alternately layering oil and acrylic, a reaction is produced between the two mediums that is a by-product of the materials. This interaction,
together with the effects of gravity, activates the surface."
'Ten Paintings'. Gallery 37, DMH Stallard, London. 2008
About the work
"These paintings are literally what they are, and do not transcend their materiality, nor transcend any aspect of them, but are seemingly factual and somehow in that factualness
constitute some sort of analogy, which is unordered, non-symbolic, just happens, matter of fact. Literally if these paintings were to succeed we should be able to say nothing about them.
Here we have very much a series of decision-making, and that's the matter of factness of them. We have decision after decision made apparent, in which we know that there's constant
intervention on the part of the artist."
Saul Ostrow, art critic and Chair of Visual Arts at Cleveland Institute of Art, USA
From a review of Julie Umerle's work at Parsons School of Design, New York, 1998
"In her recent paintings there are two surfaces; two spaces. One side of the canvas proposes an infinite space, a space to step into, to escape to, to retreat to. The other side situates the
viewer firmly in front of the work. These are material paintings in every sense."
Rebecca Fortnum, Professor of Fine Art at the Royal College of Art, London
From exhibition catalogue 'Julie Umerle : Recent Paintings', Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, 1995
[Download catalogue essay]