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Julia Couzens’s textile-based constructions take shape between the disciplines of craft, decorative art, and the expressive character of abstract painting and sculpture. She has created distinct bodies of work in drawing, painting, sculpture, and text-based installation. Her hybrid forms are intuitively determined and reflect the imperfectly beautiful and unapologetically flawed. Observant of color, line, and mass, Couzens buries countless wobbly geometries in loops of cognitive uncertainty, seeking enchantment in a provisional world. Ragtag engineering, mending, layering, and stitching coexist with speculations on words, feminist theory, the accumulation of small things, and resolutely ambiguous ideas.
Couzens initially gained widespread recognition for her large-scale charcoal drawings. Exhibited at such institutions as the Butler Institute of American Art, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and Hammer Museum, her intensely refined, suggestively Surrealist drawings, were equivocations on psychological space and ambiguous sexuality. Gallery-spanning odes to entropy, such as Ab Intra and Ab Intra Galore, were repeatedly shown at the Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica and at the 1997 California Biennial Exhibition at the Orange County Museum of Art.
Recognized with a Louis Comfort Tiffany Fellowship in the Visual Arts; a Roswell Museum and Art Center Artist-in-Residence grant; and an Art Matters Visual Artist Fellowship, Couzens has shown in scores of museum and gallery exhibitions throughout the United States, as well as Belgium, India, and Japan. In the fall of 2019 her work will be featured in the 3rd Contemporary Craft Biennale in Cheongju City, Korea. Notable public collections include the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; Berkeley Art Museum; Butler Institute of American Art; Crocker Art Museum; Oakland Museum of California; Weatherspoon Art Museum; and Yale University Art Gallery.
Julia Couzens was born and raised in Auburn, California. She received her M.F.A. in 1990 from U.C. Davis. Influenced by her mother, who was the founding editor of the West Coast’s first publication dedicated to contemporary art, Couzens has written articles for The Sacramento Bee, Two Coats of Paint, and Ceramics: Art and Perception as well as essays for artist catalogues and brochures. Since 2014 she has been a contributing writer to squarecylinder.com.
Couzens currently divides her time between Merritt Island, outside the Sacramento River Delta community of Clarksburg and Los Angeles.