Julie Baldyga's Heavenly People
On view through November 8, 2020
Julie Baldyga was born in Louisville, KY in 1957. It was clear by the age of two that Julie would forge her own creative path through life. Nonverbal until age seven Julie benefited greatly from her ten years in the Binet School. At home her parents provided a loving and stimulating environment that allowed her to develop her unique talent. Her mother was a self-taught artist and her father was a chemical engineer. Both were primary influences in the direction of her growth.
Her earliest drawings focused on animals but soon expanded to include classmates and relatives often in narrative situations. Human hands have always been of special interest to Julie. She frequently examines the hands of people she encounters, even those she meets for the first time. Working mostly in oil pastel, this focus would find its way into images of hybrid animals such as birds, squirrels and bumblebees, all rendered with human hands. This would soon shift to spirited scenes of mechanics, engineers and scientists with Baldyga’s now signature stylized hands. Spurred by the machines from her father’s work, the fascination with mechanical systems grew stronger with motors, wires, spark plugs, turbines and other related tools commonly appearing in both her two- and three-dimensional works. In recent years she has directed more time to an ongoing series she refers to as Heavenly People. These life-size human figures are constructed from the inside out, containing batting, plastic bags, wire and other form filling materials as substitutions for organs, bones, intestines and other anatomical features. She believes her late family, friends and beloved celebrities will inhabit these surrogate forms when she goes to heaven.
Her images depict the activities she engages in with friends from StudioWorks and Zoom Group, where she creates art on a daily basis with other creatives who present their unique perspectives on life. Baldyga considers all of her work to be pictures of heaven, representing all cultures and nationalities. She is particularly fascinated by women manipulating fuses, engines and generators, and working trades like auto mechanic, shipbuilder, electrician or power plant operator.
Her exhibition at KMAC opens on the occasion of the release of her book with the Louisville Story Program, "In Heaven Everyone Will Shake Your Hand: The Art of Julie Baldyga".
Julie Baldgya (2013)
Available at KMACShop