Julie Henson is an artist whose work explores modern American icons and the power of cultural images to embody collective memory. Having grown up in a religious family, her work has consistently revolved around the way iconic figures from the past and present—televangelists, celebrities, and sports heroes alike—embody concepts that reinforce shared societal viewpoints.
These concepts have taken form most recently through a series of image-based sculptures that blend advertisements and press photographs spanning five decades of major American magazines. By layering cultural images that embody varying perspectives on gender, power, celebrity, and wealth—both through the printing process and in sculptural form—the context of one image expands and complicates the meaning of another. The forms of the sculptures often reference the shapes and scale of trophies, exploring the ways in which we perform shared cultural beliefs. And, when the images become prop-like sculptures, the installation as a whole becomes a stage for viewers to engage with a variety of ideologies embedded in the images we see everyday.
In previous work, these concepts have taken form through environmental sculptures based on the landscapes from Disney cartoons, and video projections of costumed televangelists over sequined fabric. Each project investigates the role that image plays in the construction of our shared beliefs and aspirations by exploring cultural ephemera.
Raised in Charleston, South Carolina, Julie received an MFA from California College of the Arts in 2011, after receiving a BA from the College of Charleston. Henson has had a solo exhibition with Anat Ebgi in Los Angeles and the Columbia Museum of Art in South Carolina. She has also participated in group shows at numerous museums and spaces including the Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, BBQLA, Los Angeles, and the Visual Art Center at the University of Texas, Austin. Henson’s work has been covered in Elephant Magazine, Artforum, and Hyperallergic and was a 2017 nominee for the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Award.