In my images, I enjoy the complementarity of humour and darkness, the uncanny and the mundane, grotesque shapes and vivid colours. – Julie Curtiss
With a contemporary, surreal sensibility, Julie Curtiss paints stylized female bodies in a variety psychologically charged scenes. Symbols of femininity appear in details like flowing hair, long pointy fingernails, and black high heels or boots, seen here in Limule (“horseshoe crab” in French). As in much of Curtiss’ work, the woman wearing the boot is cropped out, and the viewer is forced to imagine the motivations of this dominant woman walking a prehistoric creature on a black, leather leash. The artist has said her subject matter comes from “the surrealist elements of modern life, in which our corporeal appetites are titillated with the extravagant, abnormal and bizarre.” Curtiss’ painting technique gives the work a slick, Pop feel – seen in perfect gradations of tone and shadow – that adds to the winking, sinister quality of the woman-animal dynamic. Curtiss was born in Paris and lives and works in Brooklyn. Her work is in a number of public collections, including Bronx Museum; Columbus Museum of Art; High Museum, Atlanta; LACMA, Los Angeles; Maki Collection, Japan; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Yuz Museum, Shanghai.