Julia Gartrell is a sculptor based in Durham, NC. She received an MFA in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a BA in Art from Kalamazoo College in Michigan. Her work explores Southern lore, Appalachian craft traditions, methods of mending, and material culture. Her research includes the collection of oral histories, on which she bases her work, as well as primary and secondary resources related to the material culture of the South. Julia manipulates a variety of found and altered materials in her work, combining contemporary sculptural and traditional craft techniques. She is particularly interested in the creation and performance of identity in the South as it relates to industrialization, queerness, and rituals within rural communities.
Julia recently finished a year-long residency at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where she explored regional craft traditions and developed sculptural uses for native North Carolinian clays. She has also participated in residencies at Ox-Bow School of Art in Michigan and Ifitry Artists’ Residency in Morocco. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Casablanca Biennale in Morocco, Flux Factory in NYC, Target Gallery in Alexandria, VA, and extensively in the Midwest and Southeast. Julia currently works as an adjunct in the Sculpture + Extended Media Department at Virginia Commonwealth University and in the Art Department at John Tyler Community College.