Studio Voltaire will presents a major new commission by American painter Jamian Juliano-Villani, her first solo presentation in a public institution outside the US.
Jamian Juliano-Villani’s (b. 1987, New Jersey) paintings teem with cultural references, both populist and obscure; animation, advertising and video games jostle with Reggae album artwork and delinquent characters from art history. By layering appropriated imagery she creates aberrations, with figures growing, shrinking and dissolving into one another. Her paintings often reflect a curious slippage between the prosaic and surreal, converting the familiar into the uncanny.
Juliano-Villani’s bold and graphic style has become categorised by her use of cartoon imagery, however, she has repeatedly specified it is not cartoons aesthetic but their populist nature that interests her. She is mining a shared collective memory to express intimate and subjective issues that can be read through the universal language of cartoons. The communicative potential of her work is key for Juliano-Villani, and her unrestricted use of mainstream appropriation makes it legible on a number of levels.
For her commission at Studio Voltaire Juliano-Villani will work in situ and create a new body of work in response to the idiosyncrasies of the gallery space. She will build on the developments in her more recent work, moving away from her complex, dynamic Hieronymus Bosch-esque tableaus, where chaos was the main character, and instead focus on the psychological atmosphere of her paintings in a more personal, intimate way.
There is a clear duality in Juliano-Villani’s work; it is comic but also visceral, violent, perverse and at times erotic. Her work is simultaneously appealing and yet repulsive. She examines common cultural memories via the myths derived from television and advertising, however she re-contextualises these, and as a result imbues them with new meaning, and critically new value. Her works are affective and angst ridden, filled with moral dilemmas and personal visions. Juliano-Villani’s works can all be read as self-portraits, but ones composed with a shared visual language.