Julie Umerle is an American-born abstract painter who lives and works in London.
Umerle was born in Connecticut USA and relocated to London with her family as a young child.
She studied French Literature at the University of Sussex and fine art at Falmouth University, Cornwall where she was awarded a First class Hons degree. From 1991 - 1996, Umerle worked as an artist educator at a number of London galleries including The Whitechapel Gallery, The Hayward Gallery and The Royal Academy to support her practice. She graduated from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City with a MFA in 1998; then lived and worked between London and New York for a further five years after completing her studies, before returning to the UK and settling again in London in 2003.
Umerle held her first solo exhibition at a squat in Frestonia's Car Breaker Gallery in London followed a few years later by a solo show 'Ten Years of Painting' at The Barbican Arts Centre. In April 1995, Herbert Art Gallery and Museum hosted Umerle’s first museum exhibition of paintings including works such as Paragon, Flock and Wrap.
She has exhibited in the UK, the US, China, France and Germany, including Flowers Gallery (UK), Royal Academy of Arts (UK), Artists Space (US) and AIR Gallery (US).
Recent solo exhibitions in London include 'Rewind' at Art Bermondsey Project Space in 2016 and 'Cosmos or Chaos' at studio1.1 in 2010.
Umerle makes work that explores the materiality of paint and the processes of abstract painting. Her practice is an investigation of materials and the perception of the image. Engaged in a process that explores the act of painting itself, she works either on canvas, linen or on paper. Her paintings "exist at the meeting point of decision and accident", making the viewer aware of the trail of the brush, the pressure of the artist's hand and the degree to which one mark can differ under varying circumstances, "setting up conditions for chance, and responding to the natural physicality of paint itself".
Of her work, British artist and art historian Simon Morley has written:
"Her paintings evoke a feeling of suspension, as if what we see is a held or frozen moment within an ongoing 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."
Her paintings are held in public and private collections including The Deutsche Bank Collection, The Connaught, Madison Museum of Fine Art and Swindon Art Gallery.
Umerle has been the recipient of four awards from Arts Council England (2005, 2007, 2008 and 2015), an individual support award from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation (2001) and an award from London Arts Board (1996).
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