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Julie Poulsen

About the artist

A Person Taking A Selfie

Julie Poulsen’s instinctive creativity, curiosity and feel for colour and composition were informed by a diversity of environments in her formative years. 

From the wilds of Papua New Guinea to the bustle of the Gold Coast and from traditional Toowoomba and the United Kingdom to frontier Cooktown, Julie’s travels have fed her natural tendency towards discovery and experimentation.

Born and educated in Brisbane, Julie spent a year with her family in Cooktown in 1977 before moving to Toowoomba to embark on a Diploma of Creative Arts. At the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education, in an era exemplified by non-directed arts study and limited formal tuition, Julie formulated a mindset of investigation which would characterise her future art practice. 

Moving to Cairns with her partner in 1980 Julie zigzagged between themes. From the early works painted with raw fervour, multiple layers of child-like images reflecting her children’s drawings, through to the tongue in cheek exhibition Décor Sermon: 50 continuous metres of artwork covering the walls of the Loft Art Space Cairns Regional Gallery. 

Since 2008 landscapes have remained a common theme, sightseen interpretations of Far North Queensland and the Pink lake series from an invited Residency at the Art Vault Mildura in 2015. Since 2006 Julie has presented solo shows regularly in Sydney at the Depot Gallery and exhibited in Melbourne at fortyfivedownstairsgallery and Anita Traverso Gallery. 

Selected group exhibitions include Sydney Contemporary Art Fair and ArtNow FNQ at Cairns Art Gallery a biennial nominated show 2015, 2017 and 2019. Winner of the 2017 Rio Tinto Martin Hansen Award, a finalist in the 2017/2018 EMSLA award judged by John McDonald, Poulsen’s other awards includes: Heysen Prize for interpretation of Place, Paddington Art Prize, Sheraton Mirage Art Prize and the Fleurieu Peninsular Art Prize.


Chillagoe Storm, 2016
Mixed media on canvas

“My working process is studio-based; my inspiration taken from real life.”

Chillagoe Storm was painted on un-stretched canvas on the floor of my studio as distinct from the traditional process of easel painting. The process demands are physical, and speed is of the essence. I use a combination of acrylics, mediums and large hardware scraping tools and squeeze bottles to apply marks, adding and subtracting till the point of resolution.

Heading west to the dry landscapes of Mareeba, Dimbulah and beyond the country becomes unruly. The land unfolds, with a constancy often misinterpreted as boring, not so, blink and a frame is particularised.

Passing through to Chillagoe one summer a massive storm reared up; against the backcloth of red earth black cockatoos loudly screeched their encouragement.

“It is this fusion of breadth and intimacy in the landscape that I am drawn to.”

Located at Level 12