Artist work appreciates imperfections
Several days a week, Julie Glass serves as assistant attorney for the city of Shreveport. She attended Louisiana State University from 1973 until 1976 and earned her juris doctor in 1979 from Louisiana State University Law School in Baton Rouge. However, after the day job ends, she slips out of the business world and into the more casual world of artist.
“I have always done artistic things, even doing appliques for my children when they were young,” Glass said.
Much of the art, which Glass produces these days, finds its roots in “found objects” like the many works she has created in the past from pieces of tires she has found abandoned on the road side.
“I was initially attracted to the texture of the rubber scraps and the unique design of the tire treads when I starting collecting them to create art,” Glass said. She had a very well-received one-woman show featuring these unique creations at the Barnwell Garden and Art Center in 2011 titled “Pods and Vessels: New Forms in Tire Tread and Metal.”
In the past several months with her office located downtown, Glass has been walking around on the downtown Shreveport sidewalks and discovering a new angle for her art. “I began noticing and eventually became obsessed with the beauty and design of the myriad cracks and imperfections in the concrete streets, sidewalks and parking lots. I began this series of sculptures, paintings and mixed-media pieces based these inspiring irregularities,” Glass said.
In addition to the visual interest provided by the cracks, Glass became absorbed in the concept of reality versus representation and realism versus abstraction.
“In some cases, I have artistically portrayed the cracked concrete in other media such as paint, resin and metal. In other piece, I have used the actual broken concrete itself as the sculpture, making an abstraction which is nevertheless literally concrete,” Glass said.
Glass has a solo exhibition at coolspace in artspace titled “Abstract Concrete.” The show will run through Jan. 17.
Glass first began exploring her interest in art around 2004 when she began making art pieces from a diversity of elements including found wood and scrabble pieces.
“That is when I first got the urge to start putting things together and started on the path to being an artist,” Glass said.
“My dear friend Alania Osborne, who owns Lil Shanty Folk Art Gallery in Shreveport, is someone who encouraged me in my art and inspired me to get more organized and focused,” Glass said.
“My art started out very ‘folky’ but has continually evolved during the years I have been actively pursuing it. I don’t want to repeat myself,” Glass said.
“I am very much interested in both materials and the process itself of creating art. With my work based on the concrete cracks, I fill in those cracks with everything from resin to fabric. I have also begun incorporating welding and soldering into my creative process. I have a studio in my home but, of course, I do the welding outside,” Glass said.
Carolyn Sheridan, Glass’ Broadmoor neighbor and avid art collector, owns two Glass art pieces. “I only want to own things that are something unusual, not just the same things everyone else has. That is what I love about Julie’s work; it has a singular uniqueness,” Sheridan said.
In addition to her current artspace exhibition, Glass has six temporary pieces featured in the Shreveport Common project. These pieces are concrete and welded metal.
Though no time soon, Glass will eventually retire from her law career and enter what she said will be the second chapter of her life devoted to her art. “There may even be a third chapter,” Glass said.
Jonathan Swift, author of “Gulliver’s Travels” among others, once said, “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”
He certainly could have been referencing the artistic vision of Julie Glass. Glass has the vision to see art in throwaway tire treads and in the cracks in the sidewalks she traverses around her downtown office.
With her art in a constant state of evolution, who knows what her artistic vision will see next that is invisible to others.