A Natural Perspective: Photographer Julie Meridian

A 35mm camera.  A third-floor walk up studio just blocks from Lake Michigan. Windows filled with natural light and shelves of specimens…lots of specimens.

This is the creative world of Julie Meridian.

Branches by Julie Meridian

What’s my favorite part of working in the art world? Hands down it’s the studio visits. An artist’s studio is sacred ground. It’s their sanctuary. It’s where their innermost thoughts, feelings, fears and passions spill out onto a canvas or through another medium. To be invited into an artist’s studio is to be invited to take a peek into their soul. The creative energy is palpable. It may be serene and contemplative or pulsing and chaotic, but it’s always there. It’s real, it’s exciting and it’s awe inspiring.

Last May I was invited to tour Julie’s studio and view her vast collection of work. Stepping into Julie’s studio is like stepping into the archives of the Field Museum. Her studio is a botanist’s dream, filled with dried plants, a bit of taxidermy, jars, vials, vessels and a vintage field notebook – each specimen carefully identified by the original keeper’s precise penmanship.

Pages from an old book, a carefully placed twig, a bird’s nest and Julie’s still life composition comes together like a composer who so skillfully turns individual notes into a masterpiece of music. Julie uses her camera to preserve each specimen in an ephemeral framework constructed solely of light and shadow.

Themes of fragility and endurance, beauty and decay, chance and destiny, life and death are explored in Julie’s work. Working at an east window with morning light, Julie places natural objects between layers of scratched Plexiglas, glass and acetate and then shoots through the layers, as if peering through levels of time and memory. Like the objects themselves, these images resist classification, existing somewhere between drawing and photography, documentation and fiction.

We are pleased to welcome Julie Meridian to HangItUp Chicago!


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