“Although we try to assign names to our deepest fears and explain the most beautiful secrets of our world, in so many ways we come up short.”
Julie Anne Greenberg’s artworks conjure the same feelings as a coming storm. They are swirling assemblages of paper cut into organic, cloud-like shapes, which are then arranged into large masses. Artfully attached to the wall, they are then reminiscent of footage from emergency weather broadcasts. Such a visual and representational connection to storms creates, for the viewer, the illusion that the works are moving across the walls in the same manner that hurricanes move across the television screen, surging in coils of color.
These artworks are inspired by Greenberg’s fascination with “human attempts to control and protect the weather,” which she represents by creating a depiction of the uncontrollable with a “traditionally controlled medium.” Diving deeper into the eye of Greenberg’s storms, however, reveals that her works are metaphors for how we are ultimately powerless against such forces of nature, despite our attempts to, in her words, “assign names to our deepest fears” and “explain the most beautiful secrets of the world.”
Greenberg describes her process for creating these cut paper installations: “My process begins with creating the patterns of the rain using sand and water over a glass surface and exposing this textured residue onto my silkscreens.” Those patterns are then printed onto prepared paper, cut out into the cloud-like shapes that form the building blocks for her work, and arranged into the final swirling concentration that resembles tropical storm or hurricane.
Greenberg currently teaches art at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, NC, and has had exhibitions in Charlotte and Wilmington, North Carolina as well as in Miami and Salt Lake City. Her work has been described as a “reinvention of weather” and as ascribing “new possibilities upon pieces of paper.” Certainly, Greenberg’s arrangements of cleverly-contrived cut-outs succeed in capturing their viewers’ innate fascination with the majestic beauty and moving power of an approaching storm.
Jaz Hicks, GreenHill Curatorial Intern
This post is part of our Constant/Change Artist Highlight Series. Make sure to check back every Thursday to learn more about all eight artists in the show!
Julie Anne Greenberg, Installation view of 3 small works, 2018, mixed media screenprint on panel, 18x18 in