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Julie Ann Nagle
Jersey City, NJ



ARTIST STATEMENT: My work explores the intimate relationship between ancestry, mortality, animism, transcendent mediation through making, and the expansiveness of the universe through delicately balanced sculptures. I employ the tools of archaeology for studying the origins of our ancestors, to excavate the material traces of my own personal heritage and interrogate my own mythology, beliefs, and identity. As time goes on we invent new tools to study the distant past, while paradoxically finding ourselves further removed and disconnected from our roots. I prefer to examine recent events and their open wounds against this past; the evolution of personal narratives alongside the transformation of physical remains in order to ground myself. “Inheritance” began as a farewell to my family home through an archaeological dig and ceremonial object making. My grandparents are elderly and our time together is finite. Someday when they are gone the forest I grew up in will be sold. In the summer of 2016 I excavated our burial ground for farm animals to exhume our prized equine, Dama. After laboriously digging for 5 grueling months I spent another year casting my horses’ remains in resin, then crafting an extremely intricate shroud for her out of tens of thousands of tiny glass beads. Through this immense labor I processed grief into ornamentation. “Bella Dama” contains the spirit of my horse and myself entwined in an animistic object. Ornamentation acts as a form of preservation in “Bloodlines,” a pair of saddles which are replicas of both my grandfather’s saddle for his horse Dama and the saddle for my pony Silver. I elaborately beaded their delicate steel frames to imitate the patterns of leatherwork on the originals, which are dry rotting away. This is one way that I can keep the memory from decaying. In-between the beads I am growing moss harvested from the horses' burial site on my families property, while ivory colored glass beads strung like roots and mycorrhizae (the symbiotic fungus that lives along tree roots) hang beneath the saddles. The saddles sit side by side on saw horses, with the roots connecting to each ends, as symbols of concurrent generations feeding resources back and forth to each other. Each project is an opportunity to immerse myself deeply in new subjects. Through sculpting I digest things that are hard to understand, reifying complex emotions or intellectually difficult ideas. My sculptures are intricately crafted and often tentatively balanced as a visual testament to the struggle of learning something new. Orrery and Astrolabe support objects on the ends of thin metal rods, defying stability. Land masses hover in Congress; a corporeal model, dimensional diagram, sketch of what may have been or could come to be. The fragmented vessels in Orrery are sculpted from diagrams in an archeology textbook. As I work from mediated sources of information, I mimic the archaeologists’ attempt to understand ancient cultures through the resource of surviving objects. These reinterpretations exist as a faux archaeology in which I recreate things I never found.
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  • Inheritance
    2015-16
    HD Video

  • Bella Dama
    2016
    Aqua resin, dirt, glass beads, stainless steel bucket, trowels, brush, leather gloves

  • Bella Dama, detail
    2016
    Aqua resin, dirt, glass beads, stainless steel bucket, trowels, brush, leather gloves

  • Bella Dama
    2016
    Aqua resin, dirt, glass beads, stainless steel bucket, trowels, brush, leather gloves

  • Bloodlines
    2017
    Steel, glass beads, moss

  • Bloodlines
    2017
    Steel, glass beads, moss

  • Orerry
    2015
    Cast charcoal, glass, resin, steel

  • Orerry, detail
    2015
    Cast charcoal, glass, resin, steel

  • Gateway
    2015
    Wool, cast glass, silver leaf, cotton, wood, paint, steel
    I collected bark and branches for this piece while walking through a forest. After casting them in charcoal and glass I composed this gestural drawing, imagining the bark as strokes from a large brush

  • Constellation
    2015
    Steel, glass, resin, LEDs
    This constellation maps the mutation of mitochondrial DNA, beginning with our oldest known ancestor in Africa and ending with our current global population. Each shape represents a different geographi


  • 2016
    Birch bark, thread, steel wool, wire mesh

  • Astrolabe
    2016
    Brass, semi-precious stones, meteorite.
    I have been at work on a series of models of the universe and unconventional timelines inspired by historical scientific instruments I studied at the Galileo Museum in Florence this summer. This astro

  • Astrolabe, detail
    2016
    Brass, semi-precious stones, meteorite.
    I have been at work on a series of models of the universe and unconventional timelines inspired by historical scientific instruments I studied at the Galileo Museum in Florence this summer. This astro

  • Hourglass
    2016
    Brass and maple
    I mirrored this wedge of maple in brass, creating a surface that reflects the wood grain and makes the form whole. The viewer is also reflected in the brass, seeing themselves integrated with these ra

  • Modern Studio
    2013
    Digital Photographs of an installation of sculptures in solid brass frames

  • Congress
    2014
    Rag paper, charcoal, ink, acrylic paint, resin, wood, steel, glass
    Congress is a series of charcoal votives, inspired by the feminine form of Paleolithic Cycladic figurines. These objects, imbued with a utility we may never truly know, were small and meant to travel

  • Portal, detail of Congress
    2014
    Rag paper, charcoal, ink, acrylic paint, resin, wood, steel, glass
    Congress is a series of charcoal votives, inspired by the feminine form of Paleolithic Cycladic figurines. These objects, imbued with a utility we may never truly know, were small and meant to travel

  • Eclipse
    2014
    Concrete, glitter, ripstop nylon, plaster, LED lights, wood, fabric, rubber, paint.
    The installation Eclipse doubled as an outdoor performance site during SkowheganPERFORMS at Socrates Sculpture Park, September 27, 2014. I gathered scattered chunks of concrete and joined them with do
 








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