You're invited to the opening of Star Systems

Julia Hensley, AB8 Blue Star System, 2013 acrylic and gouache collage on watercolor paper, 30" x 22"

Star Systems
Solo Works by Julia Hensley

Artist's Reception
Saturday, November 9

LxWxH Gallery
6007 12th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98108

Star Systems is an installation of abstract collage paintings and paintings on canvas inspired by the universe and technology. Hard-edged squares play off washes of color in response to NASA images, translated into a complex futuristic vision. A suite of six Star Songs recorded by the artist and presented as cds in a limited, handmade edition expands her vision into the sonic realm.

Saturday, November 30
Open until 3pm

Open every Saturday except opening day from 12-3pm (barring holidays)

>>>Listen to a preview of Star Songs on SoundCloud<<<

I'll be posting another song every five days or so during the run of the show, so check back to hear all 6.

All of the images will be available online by the end of the month.

Look forward to seeing you in happening Georgetown!

The earth is flat!

Flammarion's 1888 L'atmosphère: météorologie populaire (p. 163)And when you fall off the edge, there's no Twitter! Or Facebook. Which is all to say I've been gone a while, adjusting to new digs, new studio, new job, and working like a fiend in the studio.

So to fill you in, my work is all about space right now. I'm building what I call Star Systems, which are collage paintings inspired by a combination of NASA images and technology. I'm also recording an accompanying suite of songs similarly inspired, called Star Songs. I'm completely immersed in this work, visual and audio, and nothing means more to me right now. I haven't wanted to talk about it, just be in it.

My solo show opens November 9 at L x W x H in Seattle. Sharon Arnold's Georgetown gallery space is beautiful and I'm thrilled to be showing there. I'll be showing the Star Systems, and I'll have cd's of the Star Songs for sale, a very limited edition, with original art wrappers. I hope you'll come see if you're in town.

The earth of course isn't flat, it's round and spinning, like the new planets we keep discovering as we travel deeper into space. All of which blows my mind. Isn't it amazing?

Op-art: Tripping on the system's limitations

Optical art by Gianni SarconeIt's hard to believe these are static images, but apparently my easily-bamboozled brain can't keep up with my eyes, which can't focus properly. Win-win.

I enjoy musing on how this curiously animated effect is caused by our physical system's difficulty in processing certain visual information. Somehow it reinforces the fact that our reality is only one reality. What if our brains had been completely overhauled and rewired at some point, instead of evolving like a crazy house built onto a lean-to shack?

What seems real to our senses is only a readout produced to the best ability of our amazing, yet still relatively limited, physiological capacity. To some other version of ourselves, these wavering blue bubbles might sit completely still.

Then again if that were the case, we wouldn't have the mind-bloggling fun of watching them drift up and down, knowing they are in fact static, yet incapable of experiencing them that way.

via The Smithsonian

Curator's statement | BLACKgreyWHITE

Julia Hensley, Feedback Loop No. 2 (Grey), 2013. Acrylic on plastic, paper, 24 x 24 x 4 inchesBLACKgreyWHITE is about communication. I wanted to create a show that reflects on the potential for connection between polarized viewpoints, represented by works created entirely in black or white, with works in grey representing compromise, mutuality and commonality. Grey is the bridge and the moderator, a means to go forward.

While conceptually BLACKgreyWHITE is about the possibility of finding a third path in a landscape of polarized points of view, visually it’s about the effects resulting from working within strict limitations and asking, “What can I do within these restrictions?”

I challenged eight artists to create work using only black, or grey, or white in any given piece. Unable to rely on the familiar devices of value or color contrast, the artists had to come up with other ways to make their pieces legible and engaging. As you can see they got pretty creative in their solutions.

Communicating with one another when we hold opposite views involves a willingness to listen, a desire to look past the easy or obvious, and ultimately, the intrinsically human need to connect with others by conveying a thought. The same can be said about the exercise of working within rigorous constraints. I hope you enjoy the results of our explorations.

Julia Hensley
July 31, 2013


BLACKgreyWHITE is on view at Gage Academy August 2 - Septemer 6, 2013

Featuring original work by Sharon Arnold, Anne Blackburn, Cable Griffith, Troy Gua, Robert Hardgrave, Julia Hensley, Counsel Langley, and Amy-Ellen Flatchestedmama Trefsger.

The Stranger Suggests BLACKgreyWHITE

Spirographs and the music of the spheres

Howard Arrington's visualization of the orbits of Earth and VenusRemember those plastic spirographs you could draw patterns with as a kid? I spent hours lying on the floor with sheets of paper covered in wonky, colored circles, trying to give up control of the pen and let the template guide the arcs so they would come out right. Oh, the fascinating sensation when you allowed the drawing to make itself!

Planets, on the other hand, are locked in to their orbits by the physics of the universe. They don't wobble and jerk around, or drink too much Fanta Grape.

This program by Howard Arrington makes their orbits visible in relation to each other, and I find their secret symmetries incredibly beautiful. Not just the patterns, but the fact that they exist - direct evidence of order in the overwhelming complexity of the universe.

Via a blog post at The Long Now Foundation

Visit Ensign Software's webpage to see more orbit pairings

BLACKgreyWHITE opens August 2, 6-8

Feedback Loop No. 3 (Black), 2013, detail. Acrylic on plastic, metal and paper, 25" x 19"


A Show About Communication

Curated by Julia Hensley

Featuring new work by Sharon Arnold, Anne Blackburn, Cable Griffith, Troy Gua, Robert Hardgrave, Julia Hensley, Counsel Langley, and Amy-Ellen Flatchestedmama Trefsger

Artists' Reception & Lecture

Friday, August 2 | 6pm - 8pm

Visual | Verbal


In Conjunction with BLACKgreyWHITE

A Talk by Julia Hensley, with John Boylan
Geo Studio, 3rd floor | FREE

Artist statements, curator notes, wall texts, visitor guides and reviews each serve a purpose, but how does their presence affect how we encounter visual art? What is the relationship of written and spoken language to silent, visual language; and how do words influence both the viewer’s experience and the artist’s process?

August 2 - September 6

Open daily 10am - 6pm

The Steele Gallery
Gage Academy of Art
1501 10th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98102


For an artist curating her first show, seeing new work by esteemed peers in your inbox is like getting presents when it's not your birthday.

The artists in this show rose to the challenge of creating works entirely in black or white, which I'm installing as metaphors for polarized viewpoints, connected by works in grey, which represent the possibility for compromise, mutuality and commonality.

I'm excited and honored to share the results with you in the beautiful Steele Gallery at Gage Academy. Please join me for the opening!

I'll also be giving a talk, so stop in to the Geo Studio at 7 for Visual | Verbal, moderated by writer, provocoteur and seasoned facilitator of roundtable conversations, John Boylan.

More from Gage, below - or visit online Gage Academy Events

Constellation Half-Remembered: Patina opens

Aaron Swartzman and Aiko Kinoshita in the opening sequence of the show, during which the audience is invited to move around the space and view the dancers from all angles.Though I've been swimming in Amy Denio and Beth Fleenor's clarinet and vocal duets, watching Aiko and Aaron crouched on the floor deep in discussion and picking my way between dancers stretching on the floor on my way to attach squares of paper to the wall or tweak a plastic drop, I had no idea how the whole vision of the latest version of Constellation Half-Remembered would unfold or what exactly was going to happen until last night, when I got to experience the show as a member of the audience.

PATINA is the nickname for this leg of the ongoing artistic adventure that is UMAMI Performance's ambitious project around the theme of memory. It takes place in the U District at Open Flight Studio, and I've been creating and installing my set, which I think of as a kind of three-dimensional painting, over the past several days.

Making my way past dancers on the blue-green stairs, up to the landing where my collage of photocopied memories covers a wall, into the back room where a dancer performs on a platform, and through the door into the orange glow of the main space, it's almost like I've never seen it before even though I just got done installing it an hour before.

Seeing dancers moving around in the space makes the painting come to life in a way I've only dreamed of.

The show was sold out, with a beautiful crowd filling the room and the risers. Thanks to everyone who came to see it! A few spaces are still available for tonight's show and tomorrow's matinée. If you come, make sure to check out the concession stand in the closet, and the bathroom walls.

Constellation Half-Remembered | PATINA tickets

Magic is afoot | Constellation in progress

At last night's dress rehearsal for Constellation Half-Remembered, I watched the white-and-black clad bodies of the dancers flow around my latest, three-dimensional painting and felt a thrill of satisfaction.

An idea that began with a word and a vision suddenly was real.

I can't wait to see how it looks with lighting, and the other secret surprise elements I have planned. Not to mention the music by Amy Denio and Beth Fleenor, projections by Katherine Padberg, and lighting by Amiya Pennebaker-Brown.

Amy and Beth were sitting on the floor near me with their clarinets as the late sun came through the windows and the dancers rehearsed their sections, with names that mean something only to them, like "kelp forest" and "scooby snacks". Then they got up and moved around the dancers, their voices resonating in the high-ceilinged space as the evening sun came in the windows.

Open Flight Studio suddenly felt full of light, sound, movement and this wonderful atmosphere of collaboration. I feel lucky to be a part of this project.

Happy 4th, everyone! I'm celebrating independence on a ladder with plastic, paint, blue tape and scissors. Okay and later, if all goes well, beer and fireworks.

I hope you'll come and see for yourself. Three shows this weekend:

Constellation Half-Remembered | Patina

Constellation Half-Remembered: Patina | July 5, 6, 7 at Open Flight Studio

 Memory is imagination in reverse.  ― Stephen Evans

Next weekend, Constellation Half-Remembered: PATINA takes the stage at the beautiful Open Flight Studio space in the U District, with live music, an expanded cast of dancers, and my latest installation.

This is the latest phase in an ongoing artistic adventure with UMAMI Performance. It's pretty exciting working in an environment where my visual art is one element in a conceptual whole. No-one knows what it will all "do" until the performance brings everything together with you, the audience.

You're warmly invited to experience the unpredictable theatrical results.


Constellation Half-Remembered

Join UMAMI Performance in sharing memories real and imagined, and planting seeds that some day may bear fruit of their own.

Friday, July 5 and Saturday, July 6

Sun July 7

Open Flight Studio
4205 University Way NE
Seattle WA 98145


Visual art: Julia Hensley
Lighting & Technical Direction: Amiya Brown
Live Music by: Amy Denio & Beth Fleenor
Video: Kathryn Padberg
Katie Arrants, Aiko Kinoshita, Elia Mrak, Laura Prudhomme, Shannon Steward, Jeremy Cline, Johanna Hulick, and Aaron Swartzman  

Concept and Direction:
UMAMI Performance | Aiko Kinoshita & Aaron Swartzman

Constellation Half-Remembered is a performance series developed around the theme of memory. 

Memories are malleable, impermanent, and central to the narrative of who we are. Each performance event in the series is purposefully crafted to be similar and different than those that have come before it. Sections will be re-made, re-ordered, deleted, or paired with different music.

Think of it like reading multiple drafts of a novel years apart, the bones are the same, but the flesh moves. Like a memory recalled multiple times and embroidered or edited each time to fit the needs of the present, each performance will be increasingly rich and memory stained for those who witness more than one event of the series.


Sale day

Thanks to all who made the trek to my studio on this gorgeous day. It was good to sit and converse with you. Special thanks to all who bought my work. I had a great day! I think it's time to go outside.

When the USPS makes you choose between 20th Century Poets and Muscle Cars

Not really a contest here when it comes to visuals, though I did battle for a moment with part of me that said maybe if I had the STAMPS, I would find out more about the POETS. For instance, I don't know Robert Hayden. And I've never read Denise Levertov. And I just found out that the USPS has included a nice bio of each poet and a poem on the back, which is lovely.

Right on, post office. They got me choosing between poets and muscle cars instead of stamps and no stamps.

Obviously I caved to the allure of the cars. Now I'm imagining Theodore Roethke vs 1966 Pontiac GTO in a sort of a slam poetry drag race.

Studio Sale 2013 | Treasures from the Archives - June 22

Sandworks, Fremont, 1999. Acrylic on Bristol board, 9 x 12 in. $185.Save the date

Join me at my studio for a rare opportunity to view and buy work from my archives.

For one day only, I'm opening my archives for your perusal and purchase. I'm offering a selection of work ranging from Townscapes and Squarescapes to still-lifes and even a few figurative pieces I've never shown before.

A wide range of sizes and a wide selection of subjects from all phases of my career at great prices = treasure!

Stop by to visit my beautiful studio, take in the view of the lake, and browse for great deals.


Studio Sale 2013 | Treasures from the Archives

Saturday, June 22

Location: My Studio

Please send me an email and I'll send you the details.

Your friends are welcome.


Art Zone with Nancy Guppy, from the mighty Duck!

I had a super fun morning painting on the sidewalk for the season's last episode of Art Zone with Nancy Guppy. The producers decided to film it from The Duck (the mighty Duck!), and the rain almost washed out our plans, but we found this nice covered spot.

In the picture I'm "working" on one of my new Star Systems for a top secret show in the fall. It's so secret, only me and NASA know about it. Well, and the President. And anyone else who wants to know.