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Industrious artist to discuss art process

By Contributed
On February 9, 2014

  • David Spade, of SNL fame, makes a bunch of semi-funny jokes to a record low crowd of 2,040 at the Memorial Center. Travis Brown/East Tennessean

Julia Dault's sleek, abstract sculptures are raw, industrial and often derived from Plexiglas, Formica and Everlast boxing wraps boldly tethered in place.
Her paintings, often of rhythmic repeating and random geometric shapes, reveal surprising materials when layers of colorful paint and vinyl are scraped away.
"Transcending the traditions of abstraction, Minimalism and Post-Minimalism ... Dault is a daring and adventurous artist, who pushes the boundaries of painting and sculpture," says Emily Colucci of online cultural guide Société Perrier.
Mary B. Martin School of the Arts and ETSU's Department of Art & Design are bringing Dault to lecture tonight at 7 in Ball Hall Auditorium, Room 127.
The lecture - and reception which follows in Slocumb Galleries - are free and open to the public.
Dault will also be visiting with ETSU art and design students and critiquing their work during her visit.
The Brooklyn-based artist and former art critic has been on the "20 Artists to Collect Now" list of Architectural Digest and has had work exhibited across America, as well as internationally, in cities such as Zurich, South Korea, Madrid, Warsaw, Marrakesh, Brussels and Istanbul.
This year she has presented solo exhibitions at Jessica Bradley, Toronto, and Galerie Bob van Orsouw, Zurich, and is included in the group exhibitions "Outside the Lines" at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and "Americana: Selections from the Collection" at the Pérez Art Museum Miami.
Her next solo exhibitions are at International Art Objects in Los Angeles, in April, and Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York in October.
She was reared in the Toronto arts community, since her mother was an arts educator and her father, Gary Michael Dault, an art critic and painter.
With a degree in art and European history, Dault interned at Saturday Night magazine and was art critic for the National Post from 2003-2006.
She left writing, however, to work on her master of fine arts from Parsons, the New School for Design, in New York, which she completed in 2008. She has been pushing the boundaries of contemporary art around the world since.
Dault was recommended by Chase Westfall, a visiting assistant professor at ETSU in 2013-14.
Painting professor Mira Gerard was also on the committee that invited the artist.
"Her work is playful and elegant," Gerard says.
"She utilizes surprising combinations of industrial and fine art materials to create lyrical, lush abstractions. Many of our students are interested in non-traditional art materials and production, and Julia Dault answers that impulse."
In addition to Plexiglas and boxing wraps for Dault's flashy on-site sculptures, her paintings may find their "canvas" on Spandex, nylon, velveteen, costume pleather or sequined velour.
"I began working with "unconventional" materials in 2010 as part of my search for means by which to complicate my art-making process. ... I don't paint my emotions," Dault said in a 2012 interview.
"My aim is always to surprise myself and to find new ways of mediating the interaction between my hand and the surface of the painting.
"If I don't learn something new with each piece, then it's not worth it. I am often attracted to materials that push against the very fine line between beautiful and hideous. I'm often looking to thwart my own 'good' taste."
Dault's sculptures are always built on-site, she says, and she works alone when creating them, a very strenuous task, with the taut textiles, that lasts as long as her strength holds out.
"What the viewer encounters is the result of a private performance, of my interaction with these particular materials at the particular time denoted by the artwork title," she said.
"They require a lot of physical effort, and no matter how often I work with my favored Plexiglas or Formica, I can never entirely predict how a given sheet will react to my attempts to shape it and tie it in place."
The materials, as well as the process and the product attracted the ETSU art faculty selection committee to Dault as a visiting artist.
"The people we bring to campus represent what we feel will benefit our students to expand the scope of their experiences," Gerard says.
The Brooklyn artist's work is not only daring, but also highly imaginative - fitting the themes of Mary B. Martin School of the Arts' 2013-14 season, says Anita DeAngelis, School of the Arts director and art faculty member. "We [in the Art & Design Department] have a tendency to go to artists who are working more realistically, so it's nice to have a change here and address other styles of art," DeAngelis says.
For more about Dault's artwork, visit
For information about the ETSU Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, call 423-439-TKTS (8587) or visit

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