Julie Wills (US) is an interdisciplinary visual and performance artist with a background in art theory and criticism. She works in installation, performance, sculpture, and video, creating artworks that feature physical hardship or brutality as a stand-in for, or guide to, psychological hardship or brutality. She received her MFA from the University of Colorado, and MA in art criticism from the University of Montana. In addition to her individual studio practice, she has worked since 2004 as one of four members of The Bridge Club collaborative (www.thebridgeclub.net). Wills lives and works in a rural area outside of Gunnison, Colorado.
“The Hunt” is a new live work from the series ‘Marie Antoinette in America,’ is performed against a projected video backdrop creating a ghosted, empty landscape as setting. The performance involves the character of Marie Antoinette, in tumbleweed wig, engaged in a choreographed sequence of movements with the oversized ribcage from a cow elk. This movement is slow, methodical, and dance-like, as the performer ambiguously struggles to move, embrace, consume or inhabit the carcass. Performance actions invoke a legacy that includes rodeo queens and western Americana, adult entertainment, and Joseph Beuys’ ‘Coyote: I Like America and America Likes Me.’ The ribcage itself plays an ambivalent role as something taken, something borne, or something desired.
About the ‘Marie Antoinette in America’ series:
“Marie Antoinette in America” a current and ongoing project, takes form as a series of performance and video works within the open landscape. This series begins with a historical fiction, imagining that Marie Antoinette has somehow escaped the French Revolution and has acquired a new life in the American west. The character wears a tumbleweed wig, as if she has been alone and wandering for so long that tumbleweed has lodged itself in her hair, or as if she herself has blown in on the wind.
“Each work in this series in some way portrays the character’s attempts at livelihood or survival and explores the roles allotted or prescribed for her based on gender, class, and skill set. Each scenario also involves some variety of abasement or abjection. Marie Antoinette’s detractors, objecting to political, social and material excesses, attacked her with sexual charges: calling her a whore, fabricating lewd anecdotes and creating caricatures of her sexualized body. In this way, sexuality offered a conflated punishment for her true infractions. In ‘Marie Antoinette in America,’ sexuality similarly offers a simultaneous crime and its punishment. The landscape is used here as a metaphoric stand-in for a psychological ‘wilderness;’ it both implies isolation and makes her societally-based efforts at survival all the more inept.
ARAHMAIANI (INDONESIA) | ANDREW BARCO (US) | ANNA BERNDTSON (SWEDEN/GERMANY) | WAFAA BILAL (IRAQ/US) | JEFFERY BYRD (US) | PATE CONAWAY (US) | JESS DOBKIN (CANADA) | ZACKARY DRUCKER (US) | ARIANNA FERRARI (ITALY) | FRANCESCA FINI (ITALY) | BEVERLY FRE$H (US) | ANNA FELICITY FRIEDMAN (US) | ARTI GRABOWSKI (POLAND) | FAUSTO GRACIA (MEXICO) | ALLISON HALTER (US/GERMANY) | SARA HOLWERDA (US) | ELANA KATZ (US/GERMANY) | ELENA KATSULIS & ERIN PEISERT (US) | JOSHUA KENT (US) | MEHDI-GEORGES LAHLOU (BELGIUM) | CARLOS SALAZAR LERMONT (VENEZUELA) | MILLER & SHELLABARGER (US) | ŞÜKRAN MORAL (TURKEY) | MOTHERGIRL (US) | BORIS NIESLONY (GERMANY) | WANDA RAIMUNDI-ORTIZ (US) | JEFFERSON PINDER (US) | EMILIO ROJAS (MEXICO/CANADA) | KAMBUI OLUJIMI (US) | ROOMS (US) | FERESHTEH TOOSI (US) | ALICE VOGLER (US) | DOLORES WILBER + SARAH WILBER (US) | JULIE WILLS (US) | ZIERLE & CARTER (UK)