Biography

Julie Roberts was born in Wales in 1963. She studied at the Wrexham School of Art, Wales and pursued post-graduate studies at St. Martins School of Art, London, from 1986 to 1987. In 1990 she received an M.F.A. from the Glasgow School of Art, in Scotland.

Roberts is known for her paintings of period furniture and garments, as well as objects associated with medical institutions, which are depicted with tactile realism on a monochromatic background. Often without an obvious, though implied human presence, the subject of each painting is rendered meticulously in impasto against the cool minimally textured background, giving the illusion that it is floating or suspended in the void. When human figures appear in Roberts's paintings, they are as dolls, mannequins and anatomical models, deceased historical figures and grotesque murder victims; they, too, are exquisitely detailed. Her painting style focuses a stark contemporary gaze upon the frailties of the human condition, in which she strives to maximize the tension between attraction and repulsion, the real and perceived, abstraction and figuration. As Keith Hartley, Chief Curator and Deputy Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Art writes, "The themes that Roberts treats in her work, dream and reality, Eros and Thanatos, sleep and death, the mind and the body, the historical and the atemporal give her work a depth and associative richness that place her within a tradition going back to classical antiquity. More immediately, there is an affinity with the work of the Surrealists…in its love of ambiguity and the darker side, always tempered by a belief in the positive power of Eros."

Roberts is widely exhibited internationally and was included in the 1993 Venice Biennale. In 1995 Roberts was the first recipient of the Scottish Arts Council's Scholarship at the British School in Rome, Italy.

Roberts is represented in numerous public and private collections worldwide including The Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, Indianapolis Art Museum, Indiana, the Tate Gallery, London, The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, The National Museums and Galleries of Wales, Cardiff, Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Paris, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm and Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Oporto, Portugal.

Julie Roberts lives and works in England.
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