Photo: Julie Caves in London

Julie Caves


Julie Caves’ work celebrates beauty and its many juxtapositions: work and play, nature and synthesis, life and death, macro and micro, Heaven and Hell. She is constantly walking the tightrope between two ideas. This is most notably seen in her large window paintings, where she has created a series of works of views through windows, either panes in view so the window is quite apparent, and in other compositions no pane is shown so the work resembles and references traditional landscape painting. Reminiscent of Gary Hume’s enamel Door Paintings from the mid-90s, instead of confronting us with a barrier to a world beyond, Caves’ windows invite us to explore that same world, and realise it really is quite beautiful. Other concerns within Caves’ practice intrinsically revolve around colour. Each of her large scale abstract paintings (for which she is best known) are a record of a process carried out by the artist; set rules and decisions are established to start a painting (much like the invention of a new game), and devised as a means of creating pathways into explorations of colour and texture. Julie Caves says: “I am very interested in the push-pull of visual space and the polarities of ideas - object and ground, positive and negative, good and evil. I have always looked at both sides of the coin, seen the hare and the duck. I am very interested in the structure of the painting and my own kind of balance. Often my method of closing-up, searching for rightness and negotiating each mark results in a complexity nearly hidden in the final simplification, a subtle activation. Sometimes it is a feeling of righting a wrong, one decision at a time, heading down a path to more correctness.” "Some of my paintings are thick with colour using a lengthy process of building up many transparent layers to create a substantial structure that refracts light. There is also an element of mystery, of nearly hidden things; you must take a moment and really look. There are traces of decision-making nearly buried. I use painting to investigate colour: colour as an idea, as a system whose organisation is not perfect, as a mystery, as science, the seduction of colour, the acknowledged and the hidden meanings of colours, and colour relationships." "For ideas that require sequence I use the form of the book. I also make books as documentation of my performance and interventionist work. I like that a book is a piece of art you can hold and look at all by yourself. I think the best artists' books are silly or cheerful or funny on the surface while encouraging you think about something more meaningful. I make books that offer a moment of cheerful confusion, books that celebrate the beauty of the so-called ordinary, books made of groupings and lists, cataloguing the things and places we think we know, books that offer a new look at things you see every day. I am trying my best to make contact with humanity." read full statement

Location London
Activities Practice-based research, Participatory projects, Publishing, Curating
Artforms / type of project Curatorial project, Book Works, Drawing, Installation, Painting
Tags colour, painter, curator, artists books, abstract, figure, egg tempera, oil painting, sculptor, paint

News & Events

  • Artists in Wonderland

    01/06/2015 – 14/06/2015
    Espacio Gallery

    Artists in Wonderland 12 artists exploring the ideas found in Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

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  • BABE Bristol Artists Book Event

    11/04/2015 – 12/04/2015
    The Arnolfini

    Spread over 3 floors more than 80 artist bookmakers, dealers & small presses from Bristol & around the world will come together at Arnolfini to show & sell their work. Julie Caves/Little Black Press.

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  • Colourful Language

    17/02/2015 – 01/03/2015
    Hoe Street Central, 137 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, East London E17 4RT

    A 2-week pop-up gallery with paintings by Julie Caves. Julie unabashedly declares her love of colour and creates paintings where colour comes first. This show will have a wide range of works for sale

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  • Quantum: A Journey Through The Standard Model

    07/11/2013 – 19/11/2013
    Espacio Gallery, 159 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 7DG

    11 artists have grappled with the mind-bending ideas behind modern physics with some unexpected outcomes. Blog:

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  • Behind Closed Doors

    11/10/2013 – 13/10/2013
    Artworks Project Space, 114 Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow, London, E17 6AA.

    A selection of works from the artists at Blackhorse Lane Studios, brought into the open. Curated by Neil Irons.

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  • Fresh

    01/10/2013 – 31/10/2013
    Jackson's Art, 1 Farleigh Place, London, N16 7SX

    Jackson’s East London Art Shop is launching their first onsite and online exhibition.

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  • Curiosity: an art practice as a way of looking

    05/10/2013 – 20/10/2013
    The Crypt Gallery, St Pancras Church, Euston Road (entrance Duke's Road), London NW1 2BA

    Julie Caves’ solo exhibition has taken over two years to create, the work looks at juxtapositions and polarities, with a special interest in colour.

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