Julianne Clark is a Tulsa-based teaching artist currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography at the University of Tulsa. In 2008, she achieved a Cum Laude Bachelor of Arts in Photography with a secondary emphasis in Ceramics at the University of Arkansas. She also holds minors in Psychology and Art History. Julianne taught visual art and photography in the Oklahoma public school system for seven years, and was recognized as the Oklahoma State Art Educator in 2016. Currently, she holds professional positions as a teaching assistant at the University of Tulsa, and as the Education Organizer at Living Arts of Tulsa. She volunteers with many regional and national arts organizations, including the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition and the Society for Photographic Education. Her personal work often questions the reality of photography as a representation of truth. On a broader scale, Julianne questions reality and its many truths on a daily basis. She looks to art as a means of both examining and celebrating this quandary.
My current work is an interpretive investigation of interwoven themes related to family history and plant ecology within a specific area. I utilize my great-grandmother’s 1959 Master’s Thesis in botany as a catalyst for creating images that explore the grey areas between science and art, thereby connecting conceptually to the nebulously constructed memory I have of my great-grandmother, who I know through stories and photographs. A visual dialogue with wild, unkempt pieces of land versus paved or manicured spaces in the urban and suburban landscape intrigues me. Plant life tends to overtake unnatural environments and objects over time, if left alone to grow and thrive. This interplay of schism and fusion symbolically represents the relationship between my great-grandmother’s generation and my own; we are both bonded and disconnected.
Photographs in the series display the flowering plants and their interaction with an increasingly urbanized environment. Other images examine man-made forms within the landscape as another kind of specimen, aesthetically connecting the artificial and the botanical form. The depicted plant life and human objects illicit a sense of memory or nostalgia that is specific to the area in which the photographs are created. I use semiotics of both art and science when creating, engaging with the taxonomic and the nostalgic, the systematic and the sentimental. The series explores my relationship to a particular environment both logically and emotionally, as my great-grandmother felt connected more than fifty years ago. With the insertion of collected family photographs, written accounts, and objects into the body of work, I explore the symbolic and ideological ambiguity mentioned through the creation of a narrative pseudo-history.
To view more of Julianne Clark’s work please visit her website.