BilyeuSolo

Interview with Julie Bilyeu on the occasion of her solo exhibition Crime Seen at KALEID during the month of March 2013. Interview conducted by Lacey Bryant.

KALEID:
Your new solo show Crime Seen just opened at KALEID.  Can you tell us why you chose the subject and what made it interesting to you?

Julie:
I chose the subject of Crime Scenes and Crimes Seen because I am intrigued by the idea of seeing the world through another’s eyes. In particular, those with deviant behaviors.  I also wanted to explore the idea of when a “beautiful” scene becomes a possible “crime scene”;  the feelings we have go from tranquil to fear instantly.  In this installation I ventured far out of my comfort zone, using many different mediums and trying to bring multiple conceptual meanings to each piece, this made it interesting for me.

P1150691
KALEID:
I love the multiple layers of meaning.  Can you tell me a little more about that, perhaps giving an example from the body of work?

Julie:
Sure!  I’ll refer to the piece called “C’est ne une criminalit’e voir.” or “This is not a crime seen.” This one is a tribute to René Magritt’e’s piece “C’est ne une pip’e.” Magritte’s piece is a famous demonstration of the epitome of the Dada-ist movement. It said “This is not a pipe”, even though it looked like a pipe, it was only a representation of a pipe. i.e. a painting of a pipe, not a pipe. I am trying to demonstrate that concept in the image of a shadow creeping up on a piece of bird at the park.  The other image is of a child’s chalk drawing at a park that is on a playground matt with what looks like bullet holes.  Neither is a crime seen nor a crime scene, rather they are only representational images of what could be construed as crime scenes.

KALEID:
So you’re also focused on exploring our perceptions and misconceptions as well as the point of view of the criminal with this work, is that right?

Julie:
Exactly!

KALEID:
You mentioned in your artist statement that we are continually bombarded with close-ups of crime scenes in the media.  Can you tell me a little about how your work is reacting to this cultural phenomenon?

Julie:
I use the “Crime Seen 2013” banner piece to express this.  In the media we are constantly shown crime scenes up close, and way too personal.  I think that this has desensitized us to seeing brutal crimes on T.V. and internet, but are we really desensitized to a real crime seen?  I am exploring this idea that we are practically advertising for a crime scene on T.V. and I  am using the banner to exaggerate how inappropriate that may be.

P1150695
Red Zone, mixed media

KALIED:
You had mentioned that you began working with new mediums in order to express your ideas in this show.  Can you tell me a little about your experience with these materials and how the are important to the story?

Julie:
I like to try to find new ways to hang my pieces because i am totally bored with the traditional frame.  I like to recycle good materials, so I used some broken glass and old frames to create new pieces. The red Plexiglass a.k.a. acrylic used in the piece Red Zone is used to represent the red “film” or “haze” a killer may be in when committing a crime.  In some of the other pieces I used gun ammunition to represent a commonly used weapon of a killer and to try to evoke fear of the death usually associated with bullets.  I just didn’t feel like drawing was enough to express myself this time.  Many of the new materials created new challenges in attaching, gluing, and hanging, sometimes a bit masochistic, but I loved every minute of it!

KALIED:
It’s great to hear you’re pushing yourself in new directions!  Actually, Red Zone is one of my favorite pieces.  The red acrylic and the way you’ve hung the piece also made me think of a dark room where crime scene photos would be developed, hung all clean and sterile and ready for examination, these pictures of the remainders of a bloody scene.  I love how you see all these finger marks left behind and your mind fills in the blanks, turning it sinister.  I think this piece really captures the theme perfectly.  Is this a major theme for you as an artist?  This curiosity, our human need to make sense of things?  Can you expand on that a little?

Julie:
I do like to let the viewer fill in the blanks with my work.  Growing up I read a lot of Stephen King/Richard Bachman books.  Then I started watching his movies.  Of course the older ones are great, but as the newer ones came out I found myself deeply disappointed in the “monster” the director had designed. I loved the ones my mind made up when reading the stories, so I try to do that with my work too.  As for the need to make “sense” of things, I definitely see that as a part of our survival instinct in this particular show.  Making sense of a scene is natural.  I think our brain fills in many blanks just the same as the computer will fill in pixels with what it thinks should be there.  This can be a good thing in the example of survival, but a bad thing in the example if science.

Bilyeu_portrait

KALIED:
Thanks so much for answering my questions!  Do you have any closing thoughts about the show that you’d like to leave us with?

Julie:
Thanks so much for the interview! Closing thought…..whether people are saying good things or bad about your art, at least they are talking about it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *