VELIA DE IULIIS AS THE CROW FLIES
VELIA DE IULIIS, AS THE CROW FLIES, AUGUST 13 – SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
OPENING RECEPTION AUGUST 13, 5-7PM
Ochi Gallery is pleased to present “As the Crow Flies”, an exhibition featuring new paintings by San Francisco based artist Velia de Iuliis. The work will be on view August 13th through September 30th with an opening reception Saturday, August 13th from 5-7 pm.
De Iuliis’ paintings possess a charmingly self-aware curiosity with the natural world. Pulling inspiration from the environment, mainly from animals, flora and fauna, de Iuliis focuses on the visual intricacy, pattern, color and form donned by reptiles, amphibians and mammals. Almost like a scientist, she carefully examines and researches a subject. She then documents it in paint, infusing a rich level of imagination into the final results.
Despite their impressive level of detail, de Iuliis’ images are not direct representations of creatures in their natural environments; rather, her images always contain some kind of invented narrative. De Iuliis’ paintings celebrate the beauty of what she depicts, but they’re not political and she doesn’t over-anthropomorphize her subjects. Instead, each painting seems to be a personal homage to whatever she’s portraying. Fowl Entanglement shows a series of flamingos with their necks all in knots—the rendering of the birds themselves is accurate in its detail and de Iuliis has worked the surface of the painting to perfection. And yet the birds are in an entirely impossible situation, ridiculous—hilarious even. It’s as if de Iuliis has chosen to paint this fanciful scene in order to, ironically, better understand reality and the disorder of the world. She writes about her work, “history shows us that humanity can be destructive, at times unpredictable, disloyal, selfish and cruel. I continue to find peace and hope within the natural world where instinct is unwavering and questions are answered.”
Like Walton Ford, de Iullis employs the style of 19th century naturalists and artists to depict the world, but she’s toned down the explicit commentary. Instead she creates whimsical, almost seemingly enchanted images that subtly entice a viewer to consider the delicate balance between man, creature and environment. Her paintings embrace pattern, symmetry and adornment found in nature and she emphasizes these qualities in such a way that opposes the chaos of the world of man, but in a highly restrained manner. Encounter with Fate, for instance, a ten-foot diptych shows two male caribou with horns entertained in battle. They have been in this position for so long that a finch has landed on one of their horns. Suddenly the question is no longer which of them will dominate, but rather whether either of them will survive the never-ending entanglement. Ultimately her work is a gentle reminder that we can and should be ever observant of and learning from the natural world.
Velia De Iuliis (born 1990) was raised in San Francisco, California where she still resides. She received her BFA with distinction in Illustration from the California College of the Arts in 2013. Velia’s exhibitions include ‘Into the Woods’, a group show at the Maeght Gallery (October 2015), a painting for the Imagine Bus project (November 2015), Athen B. Gallery show (January 2016), LA art fair in partnership with AR4T Gallery (January 2016) and her first solo show with AR4T, The Riddle of the Universe (February 2016), Women of the New Contemporary gallery and mural project – Brandstater gallery (February 2016 Ochi Gallery (August 2016), Muses of Mount Helikon group exhibition at the Helikon Gallery (November 2016).