Jamian Juliano-Villani

b. Newark, NJ, USA. Lives and works in New York, USA


Jamian Juliano-Villani
Jamian Juliano-Villani, Constructive Living, 2019


Jamian Juliano-Villani’s work is assembled from a kaleidoscope of imagery selected from internet memes and archives, personal photographs, television and film stills and fragments of historical artworks. This motley crew of material is collaged together and reproduced via airbrush, unifying the disparate parts into highly idiosyncratic compositions full of deadpan humour. The resulting pictures, often reminiscent of frozen moments from a fever dream, are direct and affecting and shot through with the artist’s personality.

In some recent paintings Juliano-Villani has simplified her compositions and given more prominence to lead protagonists. Constructive Living (2019) presents a downcast elderly female figure in clown/glam-rock makeup who is sorting through a pile of CD’s on a white sheet. A studio light illuminates the darkness, and its lens-flare pattern is painted in a manner that reinforces the feeling of a movie still. Despite the age of the protagonist the artist has talked of the piece as being connected to teenage angst or ennui, of driving around late at night or ‘crying and chain-smoking’. As in much of her practice there is a tension between the undisclosed meaning of the iconography and the way a picture resonates with shared cultural memories.

Juliano-Villani also produces sculptures and installations that sometimes sit alongside the paintings. Same Time Next Year (Part One) (2016) comprises a doctored 1955 jukebox that plays recordings that mimic the ASMR videos that proliferate online. These recordings of soft sounds, such as whispers, rustles or crinkles, provide a tingly sensation of calm, with the twist in Juliano-Villani’s version being that the recordings feature the distorted voice of the artist’s mother.