Comme toute dystopie porte en elle une utopie ; les pochoirs seront

_MG_1334-copie«utopiques » et les peintures « dystopiques ».

Fabriqués à partir de feuilles d’imprimante standard recyclées, les pochoirs contiennent au verso des documents administratifs. On y trouve, entre autres,

un texte de Maupassant, une charte de bonne conduite, une facture de 2012, une ordonnance médicale, la Laitière, Hokusai, un alphabet cunéiforme…









Pochoir utopique, 160 x 140 cm. Pochoir sous plexiglass dans un cadre en aluminium

In Julie’s Studio

In Julie Sthorez’s studio, my eyes stutter across the walls. Rows of paintings in shades of black, silver, blue and green – the occasional pop of bright orange – repeat, or seem to, and as if observing a stuck film strip, or a glitch in the Matrix, I feel myself transported to a sci-fi dream, a dystopian world of ceaseless mechanical repetition. And yet, I soon learn, and confirm upon scrutiny, that the repetition of mostly abstract forms in Julie’s paintings are done by hand, carefully and meticulously with stencils created from the original’s brushstrokes. Paintings iterate over paintings. But in Julie’s work, the human is the machine, performing the mindless labor of reproduction.

What is the effect of this manmade reproduction, I find myself wondering, so I peer closer. Small differences emerge; some paintings feature a kind of “loss of quality,” a lack of crispness to the shapes, a layering of shades, as if copies were run through a copy machine. Some paintings feature an anachronistic ring of orange or red around the edge of a shape, as if by accident. Many paintings are “cut” through with a line, where the shapes change shade, or where the pattern of shapes seems to start over; the film strip stuck between two images. These glitches interest me most; they are what I find my eye seeking: the imperfections, the failure of exact reproduction.

As if gazing upon HP Lovecraft’s mythical monster, Cthulu, who turns all who gaze upon him insane, I find myself tunneling through the layers of paint, the repeating patterns, the painting and its process deconstructing before my eyes. This deconstruction leaves me thinking about the artist herself, the human in the art machine, the one whose hands traced the original gestures. But what, in this context, is an original? The glitches, the human hands, here turn “copies” into originals. In the age of mechanical reproduction, Julie Sthorez seems to mock the confidence of the machine, reasserting the value of the artist’s hands, the bearers of errors and mistakes that save us from the doom of dystopia.

Amy Kurzweil
August 2016