With their meticulous brushwork and keen observation, Julia’s paintings explore the uneasy marriage of longing and anxiety radiating from the imagery that surrounds us — from advertisements for furniture and food to glossy fashion magazines. Julia’s treatment of these images, often in extreme close up, distills the qualities that draw us in - the shine of perfect hair, the warm glow of a glass of scotch - and yet turn out to be ephemeral, exposing the manner by which images draw us in and manipulate us. The tongue-in-cheek way she uses words in her paintings, or in the titles, highlights her own anxieties while also casting a laser-sharp critical eye on the cynical mechanisms at work in advertising.
You could say we’re living in an Age of Algorithm Anxiety. I can’t recall exactly when it began, but after two decades of the commercial internet and a decade of Facebook, many of us who live our lives online are at least aware, if not deeply suspicious, of how much algorithms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning dictate what we encounter and experience everyday. The ads that show up in our search results and social feeds and pages we visit. The recommendations we get from Amazon or Spotify. The Twitter bots programmed to spread actual fake news. Against the drumbeat about robots stealing our jobs, it can feel like we’re on a fast train to Terminatorland.
Everyone knows about the 3 R’s — even the most willfully anti-environmentalist trash tosser knows the Holy Trinity of reduce, reuse, recycle. But artist Sina Basila is making a creative case for adding a fourth R, for refashion.