Living and working on Gadigal Country (Sydney), Julia Gutman alters found textiles to produce personal, narrative-driven installations. Exploring themes of intimacy, femininity and memory, No one Told Me the Shadows Could Be So Bright was produced as a respite from the panic of 2020. The work is composed largely of clothing donated by close friends, one of whom died tragically last year, and speaks to the power of coming together in moments of despair. Like the chains that stretch and bind the work itself, communities are linked together in a tangle of relations, as small parts of a large whole. The act of sewing becomes a process of physical and spiritual repair for both the work and for the artist.
She weaves together moments of light and despair from her own relationships, representing her close friends in portraits made of their own clothes. Queering the boundaries between memory and the present, materials both found and fabricated, No one Told Me the Shadows Could Be So Bright is a monument to the parts of ourselves that we leave behind in one another.