Julia Mcneely

Biography

"My first sight of Julia McNeely's paintings hit me in heart and head, exactly as Howard Hodgkins' did when I first saw them years ago. They are colour-saturated, utterly soaked in light and colour, which instantly sends me into the core of the painting. At the time, she was painting barnyard animals and I was struck by their mystery. Only McNeely could take a banal subject like, say, a sheep, and invest it with such mystery, beauty and humor. Sometimes her paintings are inexplicably sinister; sometimes they fill me with joy in a Toronto winter."

"All I know is that I am lost in them. Every brushstroke is just right. A hen's egg is slightly pink, with the paint roughened up. I don't know why this should be so, but it seems dead-on. I could hold it in my hand. The blue of a sheep's head is mournful but gorgeous in its grief. I want to immerse myself in her flowers. I feel like an animal myself." Heather Mallick - The Globe & Mail (2005)

For over 20 years Julia has been active and successful as artist basing her studio in Toronto's colorful Riverdale neighborhood. Julia graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1986 and was the recipient of the W.O. Forsyth Award for Fine Art Drawing and Painting. At O.C.A. Julia studied with Graham Coughtry , Paul Young, Mario Polidori and Tom McNeely and completed the off-campus Florence program in 1985. After graduating O.C.A Julia lived and painted in Italy until 1992 when she returned to establish her studio in Toronto.

The verdant and ancient Tuscan countryside appears again and again in Julia's work. Rich green/blue fields of grazing sheep or cows, medieval farm house in the background. There is a quiet and powerful mystery to these works that leaves the viewer wondering if the setting is Italy in 1438 or contemporary as the grazing sheep float peacefully in the foreground. Julia has traveled extensively in Canada, Europe, Central and south America all locations that have influenced her work.

In 1996 Julia had her first child Lucas. The focus of some of Julia's work became influenced by the presence of a child in her life and the overwhelming love only a devoted parent can feel for his/her child. Julia began to create plaster relief sculptures, paintings and furniture with children in mind but pieces just as practical for the child within all of us. Whether it's one of her large canvases of the alphabet to hang in child's room or her hens nesting in a hen house the works always maintain Julia's signature style.

With a vigorous and confident brush stroke and deep saturated colors Julia shows us the most simple scenes of nature and family life with an energy and brilliance that moves the viewer to look deeper. Her passion for her subject whether nature or family is evident in every bold stoke and thus viewer is moved to see that Julia McNeely paints for the sheer love it.

Julia McNeely has worked in design for theatre and film. She has also worked in children's television and continues to run art classes for children in her Toronto home studio which she shares with her husband and three children. Her work has been in many shows and exhibitions around Toronto and the rest of Canada. Collections in Italy, Germany, England, United Stated and Canada.

Thumbnail Image
Thumbnail Image
Thumbnail Image
Thumbnail Image
Thumbnail Image


Thumbnail Image
Thumbnail Image
Thumbnail Image
Thumbnail Image