Julia Schwartz is an artist based in Santa Monica. Her paintings, straddling figuration and abstraction, are deeply influenced by years of psychoanalytic study and practice. Recent exhibitions include “Dig For Fire” at Eastside International in Los Angeles and “Insomnia” in Pelham, New York where more than 100 works on paper were installed. She has had several solo shows in Los Angeles and been included in group exhibitions throughout California as well as nationally and internationally, including New York, Dallas, Amsterdam, London, and Cyprus. In addition to painting, Schwartz has curated two exhibitions: "Place Made Visible" in 2014, in Bushwick, NY and "States of Being” at the Torrance Art Museum in 2015. As the Arts Editor for Figure/Ground Communication, Schwartz has interviewed visual and other artists about their creative process. She has been the focus of several interviews and reviews, including Studiocritical, Ithaca MOMA, Fabrik, and Huffpost, Whitehot Magazine, and Artweek LA, and she will be interviewed in an upcoming Coagula Art Journal; she has been included in New American Paintings and 1000 Living Painters. In addition, she has been a member of Durden + Ray and is currently on the Advisory Board of Fine Arts Complex 1101, a Contemporary Arts Museum in Tempe, AZ.


I’ve always liked Keats’ idea of “negative capability”; it’s been a touchstone in my life and in the studio. This may come in part from being essentially self-taught, although my formally trained colleagues remind me they too are always learning on the job. Without benefit or burden of formal “technique” in painting, I am comfortable with doubt and uncertainty; it is a stance that fits me well. There is an idea in philosophy that art is most meaningful and effective when it offers a window into how the artist is making sense of her existence, and for me this means trying always to find and show myself in my work, grounded in my time, in my physical space, and in my situation. It is this process rather than the end result or finished product that is paramount for me. This allows (and maybe requires) me to come to the studio and each project with fresh eyes and openness to new materials. For the past few years, in addition to my painting (oil on canvas and linen), I’ve had a nightly practice working in gouache, including painting into medical reference textbooks. Whatever the materials, I’m asking similar questions and addressing all form of seismic disasters: what does it look like to make sense out of senselessness, out of everyday disaster and the unbearable? Utilizing other materials (personal and found archives of envelopes, and the clothes and precious objects from lost loved ones) I’ve begun to resource them: to break and remake, to paint on and into-- a dismantling, reassembling, and perhaps a beautification, on the way to transformation through art.

Learn more about Julia's art at www.juliaschwartzart.com

Follow the artist on Instagram @juliaschwartzstudio

States of Reckoning: An Interview with Julia Schwartz