Juliette Pearce - Interview
Interview with artist Juliette Pearce.
Petra Power: The concept of place seems to be very significant in your work. What is the significance of documenting places using photography and then re-contextualising them through painting?
Juliette Pearce: The most important thing to me is that I visit these spaces and the most incredible frustration is that our eye-sight is not wide enough to capture it all. They almost feel quite cut-off, so putting collages and photos together gives me the opportunity to see a wider angle. When you go somewhere you don’t experience the world from one point of view, you look at one angle then go to the next and that is how you experience a place.
PP: In your artist’s statement you say “they are empty spaces that can be lit up to allow narratives to unfold”. How do you see these narratives?
JP: I see these spaces as sets, frames and structures allowing for a potential narrative to unfold. I want them to be more generic than specific places, it’s not about the swings in particular but it’s about the idea of swings. From the moment I take a photograph to the final work it all is a reductive process, creating a bare minimum of information.
PP: Although your paintings are devoid of people, one feels a presence there - an implied motion. How do you see this?
JP: It is a fraction of time in between the action and people. Even though there is no one in there, these are places designed for human use and you feel that. You know they will be used later in time.
PP: Your paintings remind me of what the Surrealists were doing, in terms of re-imagining the everyday. What historical movement or artists have inspired you?
JP: Recently, I saw an amazing painting. A night time scene with a daytime sky. It’s called The Empire of Light by Rene Margritte - it is simplicity at its best. He makes day and night quite ambiguous - these two moments appear in this painting at the same time. There is also David Hockney and his photographic collages and montages such as Pearblossom Highway are amazing. It’s a collage of photos and he has taken them from many angles. They are fragmented, they are not just straight lines that go together, and it gives you a true rendering of the space as if you were actually there. Your eye does comprehend it even though the collages are not perfect. He is trying to capture the experience of time something you can not do with one photograph only. He says the ‘camera does not see surface but space’, our eyes are not a wide-angled lens so in that respect his work is very relevant to me.
PP: Light and location also seems to be important in your work.
JP: The Lift was in Italy, the Swings were in Lancashire and Court and Bounce were in the South of France. The light is important and you can tell Swings have a more British light. It is good to move around and see different things, whether I would do that intentionally, I don’t know. Sometimes you look for a space and other times you find yourself in front of one.
PP: How has your practice developed over the years?
JP: I have done many different themes, but it has always been about perspective and how we read an image. So that has always been a constant. I have worked with various mediums and experienced different things along the way.
PP: As an emerging artist where do you see your future a decade from now?
JP: I hope there will be more paintings to come and to keep painting and discovering.