Julia Ricketts

She Said, She Said


What is it like to collaborate? If the artistic process is a bit of a mystery, collaboration is doubly so.  How does it work? Who did what? Who gets the last word about the direction, completion, or presentation of the work? Good questions all, but perhaps the more interesting question is why?


Unlike actors or musicians, visual artists typically fly solo. Collaborating is a great way to disturb this solitude. Within the context of a joint project, one’s habits, assumptions, and methods are called into question. This can be disturbing, liberation, and exciting—sometimes all at once. Working together on a project gives us permission to re-encounter our materials and processes with fresh eyes, and ask of them, what can you do? What is this brush for? Where does that highway go?


“She Said, She Said” is a conversation between two artists—a conversation about color, materials, forms, and imagery, and most particularly, some of the unexplored possibilities in our artist practices. (Why collaborate if you aren’t going to make something different?) The mitten-like forms in the “Touch Me” pieces were conceived as a canvas for opaque, dense colors not typical of Nancy’s glass. We thought about the awkwardness of communication, the gaps between words and feelings, and even the mysterious relationship between our senses and our minds. After hearing a radio piece on the adaptive ability of the brain, we completed the “Listen” sculptures with a network-like engraving. The paintings “heart,” “Hand,” and “Ear,” interpret these images in oil paint, with saturated colors and simplified forms new to Julia’s work. How do we touch, hear, fell—and understand and integrate those experiences?


Our ideas expanded beyond the duality of mind/body to the cosmological real. The vast complexity of time and space and our attempts to comprehend our place in the universe (or simply situate ourselves in relation to our surroundings) provided inspiration for several works. The cane patterns on the “orbs” create portraits of organized complexity, suggesting an evolving and varied universe. In “Fabric of Time I-III,” a suite of “woven” paintings might be excerpts from the infinitely varied fabric of experience, memory, or time itself.


The opportunity to work together is a gift, and we are grateful of the support we received from the Museum of Glass in creating this exhibition. Our thanks goes as well to Sarah Traver and the staff of Traver Gallery Tacoma.


Julia Ricketts and Nancy Callan



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