Julie Farstad was born in Elmira New York and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Notre Dame. She later completed her MFA at the University of Illinois, and currently resides in Kansas City.
Commenting on her work, Farstad explains: “I am interested in exploring behavioral and visual strategies by which individuals can question, subvert, or disrupt a dominant culture or authority. Specifically I am interested in flirtation, passive aggression, and manipulation because they are methods by which power is destabilized by a sly inversion of the sweet or harmless.
I am fascinated by these strategies because of their insidiousness and because of their relationship to a number of conversations involving rebellion and feminism in which I want my work to participate. In my paintings, I juxtapose conflicting visual languages (photographic representation with flat color fields) and various cultural references (for example: art history, psychoanalysis, popular culture) in order to undermine any authority that one might assume over another.
I aim to make coy paintings that are as seductive as they are repulsive in order to create an unstable relationship between the image and its audience. The cuteness of the dolls becomes menacing as their closed eyes refuse the viewer and they engage each other in a hermetic, transgressive world.
The paintings entice viewers with slick surfaces and the promised rewards of meticulous chiaroscuro, and then repel them with the excessive intensity and flatness of the negative space. They are bratty rejections of hierarchical analysis that invite the viewer into a flirtatious struggle for power.”