“We are tiny universes within a greater universe and who knows how far that nesting effect continues? Just as our daily being can seem so small, I am reminded of how important it is if framed in a different way.” Julia Bottoms
Microcosm is “a community, a place, or a situation regarded as encapsulating in miniature the characteristic qualities or features of something much larger.” In her new exhibition, Julia Bottoms features galaxy-like scenes within the boundaries of the figure’s form (or breaking away from it). There is a small world within the figure, mirroring the world that exists around us.
She in inspired by her interest in humanity’s connection to the universe as a whole. Given the current global situations, her work is timely and remind us of the kindness but fragility of humankind. The materials we are made up of, our consciousness, and what lies beyond our current understanding all inspire the work. The series reflects on these things and invites the viewer to consider where we find our place in the seemingly infinite. Like an endless stack of nesting dolls, the theme of stacking worlds within worlds, is a major focal point.
The question of why specifically she features Black/POC models is a separate but important statement. A main theme of her work is representation and it’s her ongoing desire to see Black people included where they have historically been excluded. In the modern art world, we see an increase in Black artists and more Black figures depicted on gallery walls. However, She feels that there is often an unspoken demand placed on Black artists to deliver work that reflects trauma. She would like to see an increase in freedom for Black artists to explore any themes they choose. In this instance she has chosen to explore a cosmic theme, while still creating representation by featuring Black models.
About Julia Bottoms
Julia Bottoms is a renowned Buffalo-based artist. She is a graduate of SUNY Buffalo State College where she completed her BA and MFA. Our city houses several impressive murals created by Julia Bottoms and she co-produced the Freedom Wall in 2017 in collaboration with John Baker, Chuck Tingley, and Edreys Wajed. The project was supported by The Albright Knox and NFTA Metro. Her work continues to evolve and increasingly focusing on political, social, racial, and gender issues in a subtle yet powerful fashion. Thorough her portrait she is focused in writing the narrative of people of color on her own terms.
She has received artist-in-residency awards from the Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo NY and from the New York Academy of Art in NYC. Julia’s artistic work has been exhibited at the Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo Art Studio, Artworks Cincinnati, to mention few.