We have added two new prints to our OPG inventory, by the contemporary artist Gabriel Jules. Jules is a member of the Washington Printmakers Group, and her print “Horny” of a lizard, was included in our first group contemporary show, back in November of 2010. We are happy to add two more of her prints to our collection! Below is her artist statement- a very intimate view into her artistic path and process. We love it when artists take the time to craft such personal statements- they are rare and offer so much more to the reader than a list of recent shows or collections. Enjoy!
ARTISTS STATEMENT by Gabriel Jules
I have been involved in the creation of some kind of art work since early childhood. One of my first cogent memories was of painting, with my baby brother, on a long roll of brown craft paper that my parents, Rita Albers and Mervin Jules (both artists and educators), had attached around the walls of our bedroom. We didn’t have many toys as children, but we always had art supplies. I was the visual “artist” and my brother was the “sculptor”. He went on to become an architect and I went on to a montage of serial jobs and careers. Whatever I was doing in an attempt to make a living, I always found room in my life for some type of creative endeavor and studied art in an ad-hoc manner whenever opportunity and finances allowed. I started showing my work in the 1960’s. Most of the material I produced was small drawings and paintings, inexpensive and highly portable. I moved around a lot. In those days I did outdoor “shows” and had a sign that said “Money is the sincerest form of flattery”. Once I settled in Virginia, I showed in small, local galleries and eventually larger, more successful ones. When I became less transient, I studied oil painting and discovered that the public had a much greater tendency to favor colorful work than the black and white drawings that so intrigued me.
In the summer of 1996, I was in Provincetown Massachusetts at my brother’s summer home on the bay. I was sitting at the dining room table when William Behnken, a friend and master printmakers who was teaching at The Provincetown Art Association at the time, placed a coated etching plate and stylus in front of me. I asked him what I should do with it, and he said “draw”. There was a large bouquet of flowers on the table so I drew that. Bill then took me to The Art Association and taught me how to make an etching. I was hooked. As Bill well knew, my Mother was an etcher, and Bill believed I’d somehow missed my calling. When I returned to Northern Virginia, I studied etching in all its many forms at Discover Graphic Atelier at The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria under the watchful and inventive eye of Penny Barringer. I continued printing there until I moved to Delaware where I had to establish my own studio for want of any viable alternative.
I love the etching process; it is focused, nuanced and exacting. It is a terrific medium for an anal compulsive twit. Because I enjoy rendering pieces of the natural universe, people, scenes, and bits of the detritus of life (sometimes including conflict and death), the fact that I can create a vast array of tonal depth and variation in linear intensity on one plate is extremely satisfying. I rarely do a drawing prior to starting a print and on the occasions when I do, I keep it very loose. I find that otherwise the work turns stiff and stilted. Sometimes that happens anyway, but it’s nice to try to limit, if not eliminate, failure. When I over think and the process starts to become too tight and restricted, I turn to making monotypes. These tend to be much more lyrical and free in their spontaneity and movement….as well as humor.
Recently I have been including more color in my work and also experimenting with print collages. In addition, I’ve turned my attention to other forms of art work; drawing, painting, three-dimensional collages and sculpture. I find that if I do similar types of pictures repetitively they become stale and uninteresting. One discipline informs the other and allows me to broaden my approach to both, so I can return to printmaking with a new eye.
Although I’m fortunate enough to have had my work displayed in many venues and added to “important” collections (most of which, I suspect store the stuff underground away from the prying eyes of humanity), my greatest satisfaction is the fact that most of my art resides in private homes both here and abroad. I collect art. Every one of the large number of pieces that grace my walls is important to me and gives me ongoing pleasure. I visit them, study them, learn new things about artistic expression from them, become as familiar with each as I am with kin. I hope that those who collect my work enjoy the same level of satisfaction as I enjoy.