Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Alternative Space: Julianne Cote

City-Wide Open Studios
50 Orange St., New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Alternative Space: Julianne Cote
Oct. 28-29, 2006.

Julianne Cote was sent to the principal's office. Or perhaps she chose to be there. At any rate, Cote—who attended the old Hamden Middle School and recently obtained her Masters in Fine Art from the University of Colorado at Boulder—felt her Alternative Space location was appropriate.

"It's kind of funny that I'm in the principal's office, with that painting," she said, pointing to "Madeline." In the large painting, a young girl defiantly smokes a cigarette in a lavatory stall.

Cote works from photographs, painting with acrylic and oils. She prefers to paint on wood but does the occasional canvas as well. The work she was showing in the principal's office was part of her Master's Thesis show.

The subject matter was voyeuristic—paintings of women using the toilet—or a comment on the voyeurism of looking at art. In some cases, the woman smiles and looks directly at the viewer. In others, the viewpoint is looking down at the woman, like peeking over the stall divider.

Cote foregrounds the issue of voyeurism in many cases by adding an element of viewer interaction. Louvered blinds hanging in front of the work can be opened or closed. In fact, she incorporated the office window blinds into her display by putting a couple of paintings behind them. One work had mirrored blinds so that, depending on how they are oriented, we can "see into" the bathroom or see ourselves looking.

"It's the nature of us as individuals to want to look at something we're not supposed to look in on," said Cote. "It's something that might be banal. I like to beautify that. You can interact with it. You can open and close and control your view of the painting."


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