Julie Himel is a Toronto painter who dwells on the personal. Her beautiful paintings exhibit the seductive qualities of light and colour, with richly painted surfaces that invite the viewer to contemplate the reflections and quietness that the imagery evokes. Himel finds artistic influences for the lush textures of her paintings in Lucian Freud and Tom Thomson, while her domestic imagery can be traced to Mary Pratt. In addition to these visual influences, she has also said that, “listening to Jeff Buckley sing ‘Hallelujah’ reminds [her] to make every brush stroke honest.” An integral aspect of Himel's work is the theme of presence vs. absence. In absence there is an anticipation or expectation of the arrival of characters for the narrative. There is a psychological tension of expectation to this contemplation, and the fragility of light reminds us of the captured nature of the painted moment. Is something about to happen, or has something just passed?
In her most recent landscape paintings, Himel’s focus is on blurring the line between contemporary and traditional. Her chosen medium of rich oil paint is combined with under-painting in neon hues. This striking layer of colour peeks out between loosely laid brushstrokes, conveying the glow of ubiquitous computer screens, light, technology, and temptation. Himel's compositions range from the traditional horizontal bias to celebrations of the perspectives found in Canadian roadtrip culture - through a windshield, with a roadside framing bottom edges, or cutting through the landscape itself. The artist invites viewers to relate; to feel they are looking at an emotionally rendered snapshot of a familiar land they have felt both embraced by and lost within
Julie Himel carries a Diploma of Fine Art from Langara College in Vancouver, a Bachelor of Fine Art Honours Degree from York University, and a Graduate Diploma from the Toronto School of Art. Her award winning paintings can be found in private collections internationally, public collections including The University of Calgary, Calgary’s Civic Art Collection, Westfield State University, the Armenian Centre Art Collection Canada, and several corporate collections nationwide. Julie works from her home studio in Toronto.